Even this slight jump forward doesn't give Earlymay enough of an identity to really make an impact.
The aptly titled Little Answers shows an improvement over Earlymay's 2003 debut, Stay Off Your Heels, but this EP only carries the New York City quartet to the middle ground and doesn't solve any big questions about their future. That first disc was a dragged-around, sonically sludgey, half-hearted indie rock murmur. No doubt about it, this six song follow-up is punchier and better played. Singer Bradley Peterson has a strong voice, too. If only he were saying anything with it. Here are a good chunk of the lyrics to "Piece of Mind": "Is it so easy to watch me fall? / 'Cause every time I stumble / You run, run, run, run away / You run, run, run, run away / And every time / You take a piece of my mind". I'll spare you the two further repetitions of that last, um, couplet (apologies to Byron, Yeats, Frost, et al). To Peterson's credit, he sells every line with emo-like earnestness. And the rock band behind him, including founding brother Scott on bass, pound through the set with worthy chops and yet more earnestness. The music, however, is caught somewhere between styles. Earlymay fret a bit too much over arrangements to play bar band rock 'n' roll, but they don't exude enough cool for post-punkish indie rock, either. They're a tad too oblique for emo, yet not artsy enough to draw in the hipster crowd. A solid, if somewhat unremarkable, band, Earlymay's Little Answers EP neither captivates nor repels. With the amount of good music out there, I'm afraid that a "take it or leave it" CD gets tossed in the "leave it" pile every time.