The Lawrence, Kansas emo veterans persevere with another mediocre EP.
The Appleseed Cast pride themselves on evolving with the times. Their gentle, often fluid indie rock sound has morphed slowly since the band's inception in 1998, from the emo of their late '90s albums to the post-rock of their early aughts experiments. The group has remained something of a character actor in alternative music, however, partly because of their isolated Midwestern origins and partly because of an innately lackluster originality. With the Middle States EP, the group looks once again to assert their oft-frustrated individuality, especially on the 14-minute improvised epic and EP closer, "Three Rivers". But the flaccid emotionality and aimless spontaneity that's hurt their earlier releases comes to the fore with a vengeance, and the effect is flatly generic.