By the time I have begun writing this, the EP would have been out for a week and would have easily reached 100 plays on my iTunes. I suppose it appears odd at first having the post-hardcore/hardcore punk styling of Touche Amore on an EP with the newly reformed indie/emo The Casket Lottery but the boys in both bands have come together to form, in my opinion, the best split of this year. Both bands contributed a new original song along with a cover track.
Side A begins with the new offering from Touche Amore, “Whale Belly” which not only shows a new level of depth musically with its complimenting melodies, it stands out lyrically with a challenge to the new wave of post-hardcore bands “give me a sign for something new somehow.” Following this is “Unsatisfied” by The Replacements, which in the capable hands of guitarists Clayton Stevens and Nick Steinhardt comes of as anything but asinine. The guitarists benefit deeply from the hooks and altering melodies while Jeremy Bolm’s guttering screams add a new level of angst to this, now sped-up, melodramatic ballad. The showmanship and energy displayed here cements the band as being one of the powerhouses in modern post-hardcore and shows that they have not lost their integrity from the critiques whom stated that Parting the Sea between Brightness and Me is the pinnacle of their young career.
Coming from his latest stint in Coalesce, Nathan Ellis’ The Casket Lottery do little short of outshine on their half of the split. The first original track released since their split in ’04 “White Lies” is not so much a comeback as a statement that they never left. Regardless of the slower tempo the massive chorus and discordant melodies play well alongside Ellis’ soothing yet haunting vocal styling and only add anticipation of the new record to be released within coming months. Beach House are an odd band. That being said, they are an odd band to cover and thus brings me to what I found to be the wildcard of the EP. “Myth” is aptly translated by The Casket Lottery, not only adapting the mystical yet driving nature of the original but adding a brooding twist. This understanding, coinciding with their swirling guitar work this track plays well to the EP allowing a softer ending contrasting to such a powerful opening by Touche Amore. However, this cover does have the one tiny pitfall of the EP given that little is done to alter the vocal styling and thus I believe plays too close to the original.
For 12-and-a-half minutes, this EP is an apt teaser of the direction both bands are headed in. Regardless on your familiarity of The Casket Lottery or just expanding on your collection of Touche Amore, this EP showcases the ability of both bands not only to maintain a high standard in original writing but their ability to manipulate a cover to their style. This split is one of my favorite releases of this year and I maintain that it is the best Split I have heard in a long long time.