The Last Seen

Demonstration (Self-released)

I confess: After one glance at this six-track EP's lame graphics and dull jacket photo (the moratorium on pics featuring sensitive-looking musicians on staircases starts now), I expected little from the Last Seen's most recent offering. Fortunately, the adage about not judging a CD by its cover turns out to be mostly true. Appearances aside, Demonstration is a tuneful introduction to a solid band.

The songs provided by Seensters Jason Hayes, Denise LaNay, John Reimers, Ryan Smith and Todd Bills aren't a terrifically varied lot; they tend toward medium or slower tempos and ornate arrangements designed to hit the sweet spot of nostalgic Anglophiles. But thanks to co-producer/Carolyn's Mother vet Drew Hodgson, the sonics are rich and resonant, and the performances of numbers such as "Just Saying" embrace drama without slopping over into bombast.

The only miss here is the concluding "Wherewithal," a mawkish ditty that sounds exactly as I anticipated the disc as a whole would. Maybe judging one-sixth of a disc by its cover is a good idea.

 
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