The Embarrassment

The Embarrassment

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The slightly confusing title can be partially explained by the fact that this posthumously released album actually includes the self-titled EP of the same name, making up the first half of the record. The second half, meanwhile, consists of previously unavailable songs recorded near the end of the band's life in a one-hour session recorded live. Anyone who enjoyed the foursome's other work won't be disappointed in the efforts here -- everything sounds just as strong and well-performed as before, testimony to the band's considerable live abilities. Giessmann's appropriately sharp work on "Rhythm Line" and Goffrier's tremolo-heavy efforts on "Special Eyes" are two highlights of many, showing how the members effortlessly combine group aims with individual flair. Every song seems to have something that's special and unique to itself consider the instrumental break on "Age Five," with Giessmann's rolling pound contrasting Nichols' sudden keyboard bursts and drones. Some songs actually capture the guitar work from Goffrier and Nichols at its beefiest, as with the strong chording mixing with the more winsome airs and lyrics on "Picture Woman." Others show the playful side coming out: there's the jazzy rockabilly strutting in the smartly titled "Jazzface," a bit like a late-night lounge band with far more energy and sly lyrics to the fore. It was a late way for the group to bow out the first phase of its existence, but a wonderful one regardless.