Old Ted - The Reason I Failed History [EP] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Old Ted

The Reason I Failed History [EP] (2013)


What Old Ted does as a band from the United Kingdom is very self–explanatory. Variety. They combine a lot, and trust me when I emphasize a LOT, of musical influences, with such a succinct ease and audible precision, that the music they make would never allude to them being British. This probably won't register because of what you're hearing and, I bet, enjoying. Looking for a band that crams post–rock, post–hardcore and melodic emo–punk into one big ball of fucking awesome– Well, Old Ted's for you. The Reason I Failed History will stand out even more when you realize how simple and effective they crafted the record.

They have that jarring start–stop emo–punk style reminiscent to the faster works of Kid Brother Collective that flows off "Midnight's Headlights" with ease. It's a garage–based sound that as sketchy and calloused as it is, really builds their brand of unrefined music. To call their tone rough would be an understatement but there's a subtle balance struck between the angst–ridden lyricism and wistful underpinnings of Old Ted. How they shake things up from here is even more astounding.

The overall feel in the middle of the record is where the dice shakes and is heavily derived from At The Drive In and Sparta, as the mixed vocals once more would point to. They've always noted Sunny Day Real Estate and Small Brown Bike as bands they enjoyed hearing and these also pop up in conjunction with ubiquitous stylistic conventions in musicianship that so many emo pioneers have been tagged with. These nuances are brought to the fore on "Button Eyes" and "Doom De Doom" which stoke the fires of Old Ted's gloomy, brooding narrative. Their music is characterized by its iterated soft/loud structure, overlaid with melodic, off–key vocals and ethereal guitar–based instrumental bridges. Many of their songs fail adhere to the formulas of the plethora of other contemporary bands slinging this sound currently. And that's a great thing Old Ted manage to establish –– heavy kinetics in their energy while not going too loud. It's a calmer yet in–your–face fit for the band.

Old Ted's "Five, Eight and Ten" cover is duly noted as one of the more intelligent tributes to Mineral I've ever heard. Great homage while still putting their little signature on things. "Last Song About" extracts a more indie vibe from the gents but with swinging licks, flashy percussion work and an overall compact yet deft arrangement of tunes, it's hard to ignore this goodie. It's just six tracks but if you're not hitting replay when they end, I think you need to check your pulse. Old Ted isn't a flash in the pan. They're making a statement with The Reason I Failed History.