End of a Year released quite a few 7"s over the last year or two, so we're gonna try and spread these reviews out a bit.
First up is their tour 7" from 2007, We Understand Europeans Are a Sexual People and its alluring cover. They also go by a pseudonym on this record: Barf Spectrum. Whichever you prefer, I suppose.
"Michael Larson" is a sweet opener, with vocalist Patrick Kindlon stuttering "still and yet! Yet and still!" and an attention-grabbing riff. Then there's a haymaker to the practice of marriage in "Let's Grow Fat and Unhappy Together." You can hint juuuuust a pinch of sarcasm in Kindlon's voice when he yelps, "Oh honey, oh honey! Oh dear, oh dear!" (I guess they beat their future labelmates by a year on the topic.)
Musically, this is more or less the next logical step from 2006's Sincerely and the band's stream-of-consciousness, vaguely Revolution Summer-esque style. The production is muffled, but only to a certain point -- this sounds like a live recording, with the band competently bashing away and letting all the miscues and sour notes stay on tape. But honestly, there's not many, and even if there was, it sounds much more sensible this way than any other way.
Anyway, the flipside is most notable -- one, for its fun, poppy cover of Colin Newman's "& Jury" that could get any small gathering quickly shouting along, "We are the judges! We are the judges, too!," even if they're not familiar with the Wire frontman's solo stuff. Two, for "Annandale"; if true, it seems to chronicle Kindlon's absolutely bitter experiences at Bard College in upstate New York. "I actually chose to be here. I pay for the chance. But it would better serve my future if I robbed a fucking bank." He tells of his pointless semester over the course of four minutes of noodly, driving riffs, which also includes footage from what sounds like interview answers from other students who seem to salute the stereotypical "college experience"; Kindlon would imaginably describe these respondents as "total douche bags" or "complete bros" based on their responses. I would probably agree.
"They say it's a leg up," sings Kindlon at one point, eventually adding, "and the only legs I see are drunk on $2 cups."
This is a pretty good 7", but it especially gets points for "Annandale," a vicious and reactionary diatribe that's got enough wit and bile to go for miles.