In structure -- five songs, almost 20 minutes -- Two Way Player is an EP. But the experience of listening to it feels like something far grander.
The ink is barely dry on all the praise written for Gun Outfit's 2015 gem, Dream All Over, and the Olympia, WA band is already back with Two Way Player. In structure -- five songs, almost 20 minutes -- it's an EP. But the experience of listening to it feels like something far grander. This time around the band includes new members David Harris, Joe Denardo, and Will Lawrence, and the new players offer a new variation on Gun Outfit's theme of orbital guitar explorations. "Expansion Pact" ripples out endless into negative space. Organ and tendrilled guitar phrases stretch outward, while Dylan Sharp's dusty deadpan grounds the song at its center. Even "Make Me Promise", which clocks in under two minutes, feels desert-wide with its spare percussive pulse and Eastern-tinged guitars. The band adds here their own spin on Lucinda Williams's "King of Hearts", wherein the band adds a hint of darkness to the original and Carrie Keith's voice -- a perfect blending of smoke and shadow -- feels like a torch bearer, like the next great voice in a line built by Williams and others. The EP closes with the epic roiling of "Our Time", a song that builds tension by denying us some inevitable busting loose. Instead it holds its shape, coils around you as it builds its fascinating layers. So it is with all of Two Way Player, another definitive and singular statement from a band who seems to bring one of those to every record they put out.