The Embarrassment

The Embarrassment [EP]

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The band's first extended release, benefiting a bit from better sound than on the group's full debut via the "Sex Drive" single, captures the quartet in full, fun, and energetic mode. If new wave could ever mean anything other than a marketing term, it would probably apply perfectly to the set of songs here, with punk inspirations combined with brisk, minimal pop to lovely effect. If anything, good as very early R.E.M. is, the Embarrassment beat them to the punch with similarly wry lyrics, catchy hooks everywhere, and shuddering, nervous energy all over the place. Nichols delivers lyrical portraits with amused but not snide vim, whether singing about "Elizabeth Montgomery's Face" or presumed romantic prowess in "(I'm A) Don Juan." Giessmann's drumming proves equally able to lay down a catchy swing as a rushed blast, even a bit of reasonable funk on "Don't Choose the Wrong Song," while Nichols addresses guitar with aplomb. Add in Klaus' effective basslines and Goffrier's often fiery guitar efforts, and the result smokes.