File Under = Operatic indie prog rock
Extra Life is a fairly unique beast in the avant indie underworld. Lead by Charlie Looker, Extra Life is dark and arty, brooding and expansive, progressive and, well, different. The arrangements evolve and morph often expanding close to, or beyond, the ten minute mark carrying distinctive Gregorian-style vocals that soar above the din. The band has been receiving reasonable comparisons to bands with which Looker has formerly logged time like Zs and Dirty Projectors. These comparisons seem pretty safe ones to make and do give some context to the work, but, and I hesitate to say this, does anyone else hear a little bit of…*cough* Tool? Maybe the admission that I have actually listened to Tool enough to make a comparison to them is discrediting to my hipness or maybe no one else wants to deal with the knee-jerk negative reaction that this comparison creates, but seriously, someone tell me I’m not crazy. I guess the most important thing to say is this: despite sharing some touchstones with, uh (I’m feeling really bad about referencing this now), Tool, Secular Works is an absolute triumph. Extra Life has a bit of a learning curve for newcomers, however, let me assure you that they absolutely kill on this record. Trudging through deep valleys of sludgy percussion and tortured orchestration and rising to transformative, euphoric aural peaks, Secular Works manages to be completely original (that’s right, forget the comparisons) and completely incredible. It simply must be heard; one of the most important records of the year.
Extra Life - "Blackmail Blues"