Upon realizing that my next assignment to review would be Grandpa Was a Lion’s 4-song EP, Dark Arts, I was hoping it would be easy to review, helping me get back into the swing of things after a brief hiatus from writing. This was hardly the case. The Connecticut Duo’s EP is strange, complex, and powerful. Quite simply, I’m still not entirely sure what to make of it, but in a way, I’m beginning to think that is what they want.
The EP begins with the acoustic track “Nothing.” The song is relaxing, and yet also chilling, making good use of a violin. While the lyrics are strong, the music accompanying it gets clunky at times, and yet, the song is harmonious enough to keep you hooked. Next is “My Kids” which begins quite oddly. The vocals are hard to hear, most likely the product of faulty mixing. Still, the song continues with the EP’s theme of good acoustic tracks. It’s at this point that things start to get a bit weird. The third track is named “Funeral March for a Black King Because Nobody Loves a Genius Child (honey bunny funny bunny).” Seriously. The track opens with beatboxing over some fairly awkward rapping. While the song is a bit slow to progress, it eventually transforms into an electronic track with a good minimalist beat. The pace picks up significantly, with several tempo changes throughout the 13:39 track, which is a bit too long. The EP closes with the track “Dark Art” which is a haunting acoustic number that sounds as if it was recorded on a cassette. Oddly enough, this sound works quite well, adding to the eeriness of the track. As is often the case, as soon as you get comfortable with one sound, they throw an entirely different sound at you. The second phase of the song is every bit as good as the first.
My opinion of this EP transformed several times throughout my initial complete listen. The songs are certainly interesting, but will not fit the tastes of every listener. This is not an album to be played as background noise, but one that deserves an attentive listen and a bit of analysis. If you approach this EP with an open mind, you’ll very likely be pleasantly surprised. I would recommend this EP to anyone who likes relaxing acoustic tracks, but also appreciations some variation.
MP3: Grandpa Was a Lion “Nothing”