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"Now the gloves are off and it's just because of a different point of view," sings Ewing Theory vocalist/guitarist Joe Redmond, and it's a statement that can be applied to not only his approach, but to the band's as a whole. On their 2011 full-length A Casual Theft, the group boasted hyper-kinetic solos and dynamic range over a thick, grunge-era backdrop but without the expected machismo.
On this year's new Tarantula, Redmond's unique croak is still reminiscent of a marriage between Mudhoney's Mark Arm and J. Mascis of Dinosaur Jr., and there's a rather brilliant air of humility attached to these propulsive tracks. Opening thriller "Nadine" teases the listener with some twinkling guitars before giving way to brisk crashes and an attention-grabbing chorus, while the sunny "Let Me Go" coasts on its breezy verses, making for perfect driving music on a warm afternoon.
Despite what Tarantula may have done to ease up on A Casual Theft's aggression, it's also done wonders for the variety that's abound here. Amongst light blues flourishes ("Willing and Able"), angelic ballads ("Feet") and rustic instrumentals (the sweet two-minute "It Launch'd Forth"), it's clear that The Ewing Theory have opened the door to a wider range of influences, and that approach has helped their already-strong songwriting and cathartic performances immensely.