Giant Drag, Band Car EP review
The Giant Drag story grows ever more curious. Their acclaimed debut LP “Hearts & Unicorns” came out nine years ago. Since then, the American duo became a one piece in the form of Annie Hardy, who also found herself without a record label. Understandably, the second album took its time appearing. Seven years in fact. The record finally arrived about a year ago by the name of Waking Up Is Hard To Do. However, nothing is ever straightforward with Giant Drag and, alongside the album’s release came the news that the tour of the UK last September would be the band’s last. Giant Drag were calling it a day.
So it might surprise you to discover that, six months after that farewell tour, a new Giant Drag EP has emerged. And this is no posthumous offering. This is brand spanking new material and precedes a tour with Pink Mountaintops up the American West Coast this month. You see, it turns out that the goodbye tour of the UK went so well that Hardy departed it with renewed vigour, recruited some new band members and vowed to continue with Giant Drag. She told us, “I finally understood why I was doing this to begin with and why I definitely can’t stop, and probably shouldn’t even change the [band] name so I won’t.” Quite a turnaround.
Illustrating just how focused Hardy is on Giant Drag in 2014, is the fact that a pair of home invasion robberies and stolen laptops alongside some #AnnieHardyProblems did not delay the release of Band Car EP too massively. Not bad for a studio on wheels.
If Waking Up Is Hard To Do marked a bouncy departure from the dense post-grunge of the first album, then this EP’s opener sees another direction-shift. The acoustic A Home A Bone is raw and melancholy with vocals that somehow appear distant yet emotive at the same time. A live favourite from Giant Drag’s UK tour last year, the song offers the lyrics, “Oh my Lord I must confess/When they bury me in my favourite dress/Won’t nobody be surprised, impressed”. As it reaches its denouement, it strains almost to breaking point in a near Jandek-esque manner. It’s certainly up there with Giant Drag’s best work.
This strong opener is followed by – and juxtaposed with – Battle Cry, which perhaps lands closest to the sound of the previous album. With an electronic edge, it bounces along in a perky, lead-single kinda way, counterbalancing the lovelorn subject-matter. After which, Devil Inside (no it isn’t an INXS cover) has a familiarly dark, fuzzy and brooding feeling before Hopeless ends the EP with fairly classically-structured indie-pop and the relationship blues that Hardy has always painted so vividly, “You’re hopeless/I know this/It’s over and broken.”
Band Car EP heralds a welcome (and possibly surprising to some) return from Giant Drag. Annie Hardy is a hugely talented and interesting character and it’s great to have her creating new material. The fact that the EP pulls in various sonic directions keeps us guessing as to what shape album number three will take. Excitingly, the band are already working on it. This teaser suggests that, wherever its sound takes us, it will be awesome. And you can bet your life that it take seven years to arrive this time.
You can buy Band Car EP here for a ludicrously small amount of cash.
Band Car EP review by Bobby Townsend