The second Some Army EP opens with the midnight shuffle of "Servant Tires" and closes with the sociopolitical epic "Children of the Maiz." Between those bookends and within a modest 29 minutes, this six-strong Carrboro outfit synthesizes shoegaze and indie-pop sounds; despite their far-flung touchstones, these songs still feel distinctly Southern in execution.
"Fall on Your Sword," for example, exists in a Pink Floyd-like expanse of slow psych, replete with soaring guitars, tasteful noise and resigned lyrics set to a sweeping, memorable melody. But a jangling acoustic guitar pairs with country-jazz percussion, grounding what might otherwise be pure space-rock. Traditional or Southern elements appear at this EP's foundations, particularly in drumming that quotes two-step and upbeat country waltz. In that way, Some Army often texturally parallels My Morning Jacket, finding a rarefied space between liftoff and real life.
And then there's "Children of the Maiz," a song that's complex, sardonic and triumphant in its pacifism. Lyrically, "Children" suggests Neil Young's Zuma boiled down to a single five-minute track: "All the children of the Indians/ I know are doing well," songwriter Russell Baggett sings, tongue deeply in cheek, over a poppy acoustic guitar at the start. Yet the band comes in with a steady, confident swing, and the track gradually wends away from pop as soaring guitar melodies emerge and develop. "I came here like some infidel with murder in my eyes," Baggett continues. "But I'll bet that I can love you if your politics are right."
The song closes on a fantastic martial crescendo, not unlike moments of Godspeed You! Black Emperor's "Rockets Fall on Rocket Falls." Thunderous, staccato drum hits mercilessly inter Baggett's effected vocals. It's a rapturous curveball at the end of a carefully composed and gorgeously textured record, made all the more powerful by the band's general policies of patience and restraint.
This article appeared in print with the headline "Three acts, back for more."