Words like “melancholy”, “introspective”, and “bittersweet” are used excessively in music criticism, perhaps because so much music tries to tap into that feeling. Ant’s These Long Dark Country Roads EP falls into that category. Here, the descriptor “ruminative” seems to fit; there’s comfort in quiet consideration. These are songs of love lost or sought and also going-away songs that musically ramble down the titular dark roads, going somewhere but not sure where. There are catchy melodies hidden behind the half-asleep-on-the-porch demeanor of the music. Ant (Antony Harding formerly of Hefner) sings about the changing of seasons, about people trying to connect over the telephone lines: “If you come to the phone / I will kiss you down the line / I know that things could be so different this time.” There’s pleasure to be taken in that longing, that expression of attempted connection. There’s also pleasure to be had in songs of uncertainty, in other words, adorned with a brushed acoustic guitar, tentative Casio, and that timeless harmonica.
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