Speedreader - EP

Emily Tartanella 06/11/2005

Rating: 4/5

Do you believe in second chances? A few years back, a band known as Caiaphas produced a single critically and commercially ignored EP, and nothing more was heard from them. Until now, that is, as Caiaphas returns under the name Speedreader with In a Way We're All Winners.

And if their earlier efforts were laboured and unsuccessful, this is a sublime piece of genre-bending rock at its finest. Few strands link together this EP, though musically all five tracks have a dark, inexplicable glamour to them, as though they were born under the stars in a back alley somewhere. Opener “Note To Self” kicks off like a Minus the Bear b-side, before morphing into some strange, Elephant Six Collective hybrid that chases you like a bad dream. “I'm getting used to defeat/ Fortune laughs at the weak,” Mike Beardsworth murmurs in the voice of narcoleptics and daydreamers.

While “Small Print,” with its electro-folk atmosphere, is a mistake, the remaining three tracks are all brilliant: “Get Well Soon” opens like a police siren and closes like early West Coast pop; “Follow Me Down” is the musical recording of Alice's acid trip into a dark and subversive Wonderland; and “Wait On Amber” is simply surreal. With overtones of both modern piano pop and Zeppelin-esque bombast, it deserves to be the soundtrack to every alcoholic summer afternoon.
“It's hopeless like a reptile trying to feel emotion,” Beardsworth sighs as the EP draws to a close, but this album is anything but hopeless. Haunting, magnificent, challenging: this is more than a second chance, this is a resurrection.