The Border Surrender – Lean Season EP review
An EP which starts with a song which has a chorus “if you pass me by keep walking” shouldn’t have much potential, Sir Isaac Newton would probably say. But I ask myself, what on earth would Sir Isaac know about music? I think he knew a little bit about music, because Sir Isaac was the ugly hairy chap who came up with the laws of motion. One of these laws states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. So let me explain why Isaac (enough with the Sir now) knew about good music.
When I listen to Call to Prayer, the second track on the Lean Season EP, I feel the urge to dance around in the middle of a bar with a scotch in my hand. So Isaac dreamt of me and the Border Surrender, a fine 4 piece band from London to come up with the laws of motion. There is an action, in this case music, and there is the reaction, me dancing like a drunken fool in the middle of a bar. The four tracks in Lean Season EP are addictive, and transmit that natural crazy vibe you need to start fooling around and dancing like a sizzling prawn cracker. It is like the album was designed to help the ugly people date in a bar, those who wear an old faded jeans and a t-shirt that says: beer belly under construction, or Fuel tank for a sex machine.
The album has a lot of country music influences, but don’t run away. The influences are of experimental country with a magical touch of folk and rock music. Lean Season EP also features an extensive number of instruments, which I haven’t head in a good number of years. A cow bell on their drum kit, accordions, organs, sleazy bass and both classical and electric guitar are played and mixed carefully to bring back a touch of the old to modern music. Every song in this album has a unique style and tempo. If You Pass By Me, the Ep’s first track, starts with a simple piano and masculine vocals, while the drums and groovy bass melt in slowly till the song takes a total different direction at 1:40 minute. The drums and vocals go to a new level of a high, and guitars and other instruments join in to make a perfect blend of instruments and vocals listen to when coming back from the beach, standing up in a van’s back enjoying the wind hitting your face.
Call To Prayer is the song featuring the cow bell. It is amazing what effect such instrument has on music. The second track is by far the best song in the album to help you loosen those rusty joints thanks to its modern blues touch. The song also ends with a sing along ‘lalala’ which definitely when played life, gives the fans the chance to be heard over the band. The third track, The Mariner’s Wife is more of a country influenced song which has joyful riffs and lyrics. This song is typically played in a bar where cowboys go after killing some beef for the day, and enjoy a beer and sing along trying to pick up some sexy blonde chick. The last track, What Happened at The Estuary is a perfect album ending song, starting only with vocals and two or three different guitar notes for a couple of seconds, until the Hammond organ and drums join in to give it that perfect reflective mood, even though it is not a slow song.
I must admit that I really enjoyed listening to this album, from the beginning to the end. Coming from an “afraid of country music” background, all I can say is that The Border Surrender showed us how you can experiment with any genre of music, still use “old style” instrument and come up with an outstanding EP. The way these guys exploited the genres of music and instruments they used, it’s like they had a frog and turned it into a prince, or even better, magically changed a shark into a mermaid with legs