Where many members of the current rock underground prefer to stick either to experimental atmospherics or straight-ahead pop songs, Shoes and Rider prefer to split the difference. Their songs both recall the glacial patience of Tortoise and the pop smarts of indie pop greats like Unrest or the Wedding Present. Though the band is pronouncedly fond of keyboard texture and heavily altered guitar sounds, they never let it get in the way of their better songwriting judgement. Consequently, Shoes and Rider proves to be an engaging listen. Never so abstract that it becomes boring or opaque, but never so straight-ahead that it becomes derivative, the EP shines as both an investigation of rhythm and texture and as a collection of winning, melodic songs.
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