[29 May 2008]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
After parting ways with Astralwerks, The Little Ones have a full-length record hanging in limbo. However, with talk of a summer 2008 release, you might start thinking that this new EP, Terry Tales & Fallen Gates, is merely a hold-over release. A half-assed tidbit of mediocrity tossed our way to tide our foolish appetites until the real meal comes. Not so. And anyone who is a fan of their previous EP, Sing Song, know how they can deliver in the shorter format.
Like its predecessor, Terry Tales & Fallen Gates is a strong six-song set that rarely finds a moment to slow down, and never finds a moment to be dull. Like so many power-pop bands, The Little Ones have the frenetic energy to last for miles, but they manage to channel that energy into songs that are surprisingly smooth in their delivery. They never let their high-energy feel push their songs into the herky-jerky, well-worn road of watered down post-punk or new wave. Instead, on songs like “Boracay”—the best this EP offers—the band delivers songs full of hook-laden, sweetly smooth parts that don’t quite fit together as tightly as they should.
The results are songs that can stop on a dime and surprise you, while still etching their choruses into your brain. The drums are buried a little deeper than they are on Sing Song, and fans of older tracks like “Let Them Ring Bells” might miss that bright snap of the snare. But the consistently rolling guitar riffs, the sturdy bass lines, and the bursts of gang vocals are enough to make up the difference. Hell, with EPs this good, why do The Little Ones even need to put out a full-length?