Tuesday, 12 May 2009

The One Up Downstairs - S/T (2006)

Will I be seeing you next spring?
Well I hope so
If not, would you skip a stone in your lake for me?

This is probably the wrong season to be posting this, but whatever. The One Up Downstairs were a short-lived project by Mike Kinsella and Steve Lamos of American Football and two members of Very Secretary that recorded one 7" before American Football came into being that never really got released until 2006. The American Football LP is a really beautiful indie-rock album and one of my favourite records ever, so it's always annoyed me that I can't really find anything else by the Kinsellas that has a similarly nostalgic and reflective feel to it, besides Mike's solo project Owen which never really did much for me. The discovery of this EP, then, was a nice surprise for me, having played both American Football records to death. The opener 'Champaign' sounds like classic American Football, slowly unfolding and meandering in a kind of ponderous way. Lyrical and musical ideas come and go gently much in the way that your mind works in those beautiful moments of calm, contented reflection that come once in a while. It paints a lovely picture in my mind, like the speaker's a little tipsy after a couple of glasses of wine and is taking a walk outside in the snow at nighttime, and what we're presented with are just the thoughts in his head as they come and go.

'Rememories' is more uptempo, with a bouncy riff that almost sounds like something out of a Don Caballero song. Lyrically it deals with the feeling when you're moving from one place to another of looking forward to making more - and maybe better - memories but also hoping that you'll be missed and wondering if the people who were important to you will think about you when you're not around, which is a sentiment I can relate to pretty easily. This running theme of nostalgia for people, places and certain periods in your life in American Football's music also finds itself in this EP and is something that makes both bands so endearing for me. The last instrumental 'Franco the Bull' feels a little tacked-on at the end compared to the two songs before it but is worth a listen too. But overall, for anyone that wishes American Football had released a little more material or just digs music that deals in slow, intricate, nostalgic beauty, this EP is a really nice little fix.

The One Up Downstairs - S/T

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