Thursday, September 4, 2008

Extra Life - Secular Works

Extra Life
Secular Life
(2008, Planaria)
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.

-Mr. Thistle

Extra Life - "Blackmail Blues"


Justin Snow said...

Nothing wrong in knowing what Tool sounds like. The broader your knowledge of music, the better you are at critiquing it. And just because something shares elements with Tool doesn't mean they suck.

And no, you're not crazy. Blackmail Blues, at least, definitely sounds like Tool. But not in a bad way. However, I don't especially dig it except for Charlie Looker's voice. So unique and awesome it almost gives one reason to listen anything he's involved in.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, because Tool sucks. There isn't a creative bone in their collective bodies. They're horrible! I can't believe anybody in their right mind would ever listen to a note that band plays. What losers! Can you imagine? Listening to Tool! Ridiculous!! They've have made not a single meaningful contribution to our culture and anybody who has ever listened to Tool is a dork. But you Justin Snow... you my friend... well, nobody has anything on you buddy. You're the coolest. Keep on keepin' it real pal.

Anonymous said...


Did i say Justin Snow is the coolest? I meant Mr. Thistle is the coolest. Wow. That guy is the real deal, man. Super cool.

Mr. Thistle said...

slam! Got me. coolest evah!