The Life and Times

The Flat End of the Earth [EP]

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The breakup of Shiner in 2002 left frontman Allen Epley looking for new compatriots. He found them in bassist John Meredith (ex-Someday I) and drummer Mike Myers (ex-Strings & Return), and the new band debuted with the six-track Flat End of the Earth EP in 2003. It finds Epley leaving behind some of the math-rock excesses of his previous group in favor of a big, messy, multi-layered guitar sound and chord progressions that, while not always entirely obvious, are for the most part accessible and intrinsically logical. Credit producer Dan Dixon (of Dropsonic) with some of Epley's new accessibility, but it's clear that he fully intended to be a bit less difficult this time out. "Houdini" rises and falls gently on swelling waves of chiming guitars; "High Scores" sounds a bit like middle-period R.E.M., complete with unintelligible lyrics; "Flat End of the Earth" is a sprawling, largely instrumental composition that frankly could have used a little tightening up. It sounds a bit like the Life and Times are still figuring out exactly what they want to do, but that's natural. The group is off to a good start.

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