Music

Early Day Miners: The Treatment

Andrew Dietzel
Photo: Rebecca Drolen

There is nothing overwrought about this album, despite its name. Early Day Miners instead opt for an uncomplicated opus where memories, desires, and experiences overlap.


Early Day Miners

The Treatment

Label: Secretly Canadian
US Release Date: 2009-09-22
UK Release Date: Available as import
Website
Amazon
iTunes

The first time I heard Early Day Miners was at a Wilco show in 2005. They were the opening act and, as my ears soon discovered, largely incomparable to the alt-country and rock sound that Jeff Tweedy et al perform. It was clear to me that -- even there in the balcony seats with my neck strained and angled awkwardly toward the stage -- Early Day Miners were cut from some variation of the shoegaze mold, using layered vocals and majestic repetition to create a wistful landscape of sound. If you’ll indulge me in a Hot Topic-style mashup description, think of Red House Painters reined in by the folky melodies of the Great Lake Swimmers and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what the Miners are like. Notice, too, the nominal template of adjective/noun/profession of these three bands, and suddenly the similarities seem much more than coincidental.

For The Treatment, their sixth album since their 2001 debut, Early Day Miners have continued the tradition of long, sweeping tracks that paint the air with meditative descriptions of life’s many temperaments, with the addition of more germane social topics. But make no mistake: this is not an unpleasant trip down melancholy lane with dead trees and crumpled Dear John letters lining the curb. This is an exploration of life’s sometimes tragic themes that works toward an ultimate goal of acceptance, betterment, and change. With no reservation, I can say that Early Day Miners are successful in that aim.

This Indiana group has reinvented themselves musically as well, as the opener and unabashed nod to the Pixies, “In the Fire”, demonstrates. The shimmering tendencies of shoegaze and slowcore (which sounds like a dangerous misnomer) are still there, but more focus is paid to a concentration of melody in the form of thrusting basslines, more controlled use of the guitar effects pedal, and the very subtle but integral usage of organs. In other words, it’s the same band wearing a different style of jacket. And how stylish it is, like some kind of sonic haute couture.

“So Slowly” and “The Surface of Things” are epic and expansive expressions of this change. The contemplative process that explores the dynamic between atmosphere and pop is a constant throughout the record, be it on the U2-esque centerpiece of “How to Fall”, the lazy hypnotism of “The Zip”, or the acoustic solemnity of the album’s final song, “Silver Oath”. There is nothing overwrought about The Treatment, despite its name, nothing that attempts to gloss the ears of the listener over with audio tricks, pretension, or forced enthusiasm. Early Day Miners instead opt for an uncomplicated opus where memories, desires, and experiences overlap.

When The Treatment concludes, it feels like there has been an indoctrination into the fundamental philosophy of the band. The transition therein is smooth and gentle, but still strongly emotive, akin to what the Cure’s Disintegration would have sounded like if Robert Smith had a more optimistic outlook. And while this is a poppier, more finely polished rendering of their sound, this is also a magnificent culmination of everything Early Day Miners have been working toward and perfecting throughout the duration of their career.

8

Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

Alright Alright's "Don't Worry" Is an Ode for Unity in Troubling Times (premiere)

Alright Alright's "Don't Worry" is a gentle, prayerful tune that depicts the heart of their upcoming album, Crucible.

Music

Tim Bowness of No-Man Discusses Thematic Ambition Amongst Social Division

With the release of his seventh solo album, Late Night Laments, Tim Bowness explores global tensions and considers how musicians can best foster mutual understanding in times of social unrest.

Music

Angel Olsen Creates a 'Whole New Mess'

No one would call Angel Olsen's Whole New Mess a pretty album. It's much too stark. But there's something riveting about the way Olsen coos to herself that's soft and comforting.

Music

Masma Dream World Go Global and Trippy on "Sundown Forest" (premiere)

Dancer, healer, musician Devi Mambouka shares the trippy "Sundown Forest", which takes listeners deep into the subconscious and onto a healing path.

Music

'What a Fantastic Death Abyss': David Bowie's 'Outside' at 25

David Bowie's Outside signaled the end of him as a slick pop star and his reintroduction as a ragged-edged arty agitator.

Music

Dream Folk's Wolf & Moon Awaken the Senses with "Eyes Closed" (premiere)

Berlin's Wolf & Moon are an indie folk duo with a dream pop streak. "Eyes Closed" highlights this aspect as the act create a deep sense of atmosphere and mood with the most minimal of tools.

Television

Ranking the Seasons of 'The Wire'

Years after its conclusion, The Wire continues to top best-of-TV lists. With each season's unique story arc, each viewer is likely to have favorites.

Film

Paul Reni's Silent Film 'The Man Who Laughs' Is Serious Cinema

There's so much tragedy present, so many skullduggeries afoot, and so many cruel and vindictive characters in attendance that a sad and heartbreaking ending seems to be an obvious given in Paul Reni's silent film, The Man Who Laughs.

Music

The Grahams Tell Their Daughter "Don't Give Your Heart Away" (premiere)

The Grahams' sweet-sounding "Don't Give Your Heart Away" is rooted in struggle, inspired by the couples' complicated journey leading up to their daughter's birth.

Music

Gloom Balloon Deliver an Uplifting Video for "All My Feelings For You" (premiere)

Gloom Balloon's Patrick Tape Fleming considers what making a music video during a pandemic might involve because, well, he made one. Could Fellini come up with this plot twist?

Film

What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .

Music

Brian Cullman Gets Bluesy with "Someday Miss You" (premiere)

Brian Cullman's "Someday Miss You" taps into American roots music, carries it across the Atlantic and back for a sound that is both of the past and present.

Music

IDLES Have Some Words for Fans and Critics on 'Ultra Mono'

On their new album, Ultra Mono, IDLES tackle both the troubling world around them and the dissenters that want to bring them down.

Music

Napalm Death Return With Their Most Vital Album in Decades

Grindcore institution Napalm Death finally reconcile their experimental side with their ultra-harsh roots on Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism.

Film

NYFF: 'Notturno' Looks Passively at the Chaos in the Middle East

Gianfranco Rosi's expansive documentary, Notturno, is far too remote for its burningly immediate subject matter.

Music

The Avett Brothers Go Back-to-Basics with 'The Third Gleam'

For their latest EP, The Third Gleam, the Avett Brothers leave everything behind but their songs and a couple of acoustic guitars, a bass, and a banjo.

Music

PM Picks Playlist 1: Rett Madison, Folk Devils + More

The first PopMatters Picks Playlist column features searing Americana from Rett Madison, synthpop from Everything and Everybody, the stunning electropop of Jodie Nicholson, the return of post-punk's Folk Devils, and the glammy pop of Baby FuzZ.

Books

David Lazar's 'Celeste Holm  Syndrome' Appreciates Hollywood's Unsung Character Actors

David Lazar's Celeste Holm Syndrome documents how character actor work is about scene-defining, not scene-stealing.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.