It isn’t necessarily a good sign when an EP kicks off with two minutes’ worth of the digital delay that They Might Be Giants were toying around with on “Ana Ng” back in ’89. But then the whole thing surges into a gritty, driving instrumental rock marathon, the sort of effortless grunge jam session that garage band members across the US dream of creating each night as they fall asleep next to their battered second-hand Stratocasters, and this Seattle four-piece proves to be in top form on this warm-up to the full-length Airs Above Your Station, also on Sub Pop.
“Point That Thing Somewhere Else,” the second track, is taken from the Be Gentle with the Warm Turtle (2001) sessions, and harks back to early Sonic Youth — almost to a fault. It’s also the only track on the Semaphore EP with vocals. The remaining two songs — “The Bunnies are Tough,” deliciously surreal but musically uneventful, and “I Wouldn’t Hurt a Fly,” which I guessed might obliquely to refer to Built To Spill’s “I Hurt a Fly,” but instead closes out this 23-minute affair on a similar, albeit slower, note to which it began — function better as curiosities than attempts in listener accessibility to boost the band’s fanbase. In other words, this EP is great for existing Kinski listeners, though newcomers might like to save up for Airs Above Your Station instead.
Sub Pop Records: http://www.subpop.com