On their thoroughly enjoyable debut LP, Hearts and Unicorns, Giant Drag struck a curious balance. Amid the crunch of fuzzed-out power chords, frontwoman Annie Hardy squealed and squirmed, spewing forth lyrics that were by turns, twisted, sentimental, self-effacing and sexually empowering. Five years worth of label drama and break ups/make ups later, the L.A. two-piece has returned with the meager Swan Song EP. Over the course of four tracks, the band does little more than tread water, offering up no real justification for their decision to soldier on. The slow-burning title track, for instance, aims to evoke the FM dial circa the mid-‘90s but veers uncomfortably close to Bush territory (think “Glycerine”), while Hardy mumbles incoherently over the top. “Stuff to Live For” is more satisfying, musically—it might make you want to dig out your old Veruca Salt LPs—but finds Hardy with little to say, save for the refrain, “I’ve got stuff to live for”. “White Baby” ably summons the guitar tones of Daydream Nation-era Sonic Youth but its post-Liz Phair posturing (“I wanna have all your babies”, etc.) feels a bit tired. While other female-fronted indie-rock acts continue to push boundaries—just look at the vibrant, diverse scene that’s currently blossoming in L.A.—Giant Drag seem content to remain stuck in the past.
// Notes from the Road
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