Goodbye, Labrador – A Thousand Times Before (EP Review)

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Goodbye, Labrador’s latest EP reviewed.

The disappearance of a beloved childhood pet is undoubtedly one of the most tragic events that could befall any youngster. Anyone who was regularly forced to endure the Homeward Bound films during those long hot summer holidays when you almost wished you were back at school can attest, losing Fido sucks big time. But fear not, dog lovers young and all; Goodbye, Labrador are here to make your tail wag.

Operating out of Brooklyn following a chance meeting in a Barcelona watering-hole, Goodbye, Labrador have just released their second album ‘A Thousand Times Before’ on Dead Fisherman Records. At first listen they appear to be the kind of competent yet ultimately throwaway indie act championed by the NME for 5 minutes before the next cool thing rears its perfectly sculpted head, but a spot of digging is well worth the effort, for there’s a few juicy bones waiting to be gnawed upon.

Album opener ‘Intrepid’ may be under three minutes in length but is chock-full of enough cleanly-picked post rock melodies to grab the attention of any passing Explosions In The Sky fan while a brief, floating chorus reeking of summer vibes ends things on a high.

‘Sirens’ is driven by a sturdy bassline from Goncalo Hipploito Martins while the insistent melodies jostle for attention in a track reminiscent of early material by The Smiths. The dreamlike feel is emphasized with lyrics like ‘Taking a break, into the void’, lightly sung while the tempo briefly picks up before deciding it’s not worth the effort.

Next track ‘Falling Away’ is similarly in no hurry to go anywhere fast but makes up for its initial sluggishness with some thoughtful interplay between guitarists Phil Gold and Martin Pipal that propel things along smoothly. ‘Embrace the Stranger’ once again flirts with post rock but unfortunately can’t seem to resist playing it safe and thus sounding all too familiar which is a shame as the lightly jarring chords of the intro and slightly experimental vocals suggest that the group is capable of showcasing some new tricks.

‘Silence of Me’ delivers more of the same with the vaguely nostalgic melodies calling to mind hazy summer afternoons where lazing around is the only option in a world that goes too fast. Closing track ‘Memoir’ employs some swirling delay effects and a vaguely melancholic feel that suggests that while every dog may have his day, some come round a lot later than others. Suffice to say, Goodbye, Labrador aren’t barking up the wrong tree.

 

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