Here’s the perfect way to go about things…record just the right amount of songs, and release them. The EP has made a comeback, in a sense, over the last few years. And it’s perfect time for the EP once again. There will always be those of us who love the album but the album has to be good. And in the past I don’t believe Mara Simpson has been able to carry off an album’s worth of tunes. But this EP, everything polished just right, scrubbed and dressed up; best tunes standing at attention…well, it’s hard to fault this.
I mean, sure, I don’t like that Alanis Morissette tone that Simpson gets in her voice and here it’s noticeable on the closer, What I Would Give and also on Restless Passenger (the middle of the EP) but the tracks either side of it are very good. And, anyway, someone else might just like that Alanis-esque quality her voice sometimes carries.
I prefer the opener, Around Here, where we get hints of Frazey Ford and Dixie Chicks, perhaps – and somewhat incongruously – via Tori Amos. I prefer the well-written title track and I prefer Fine Lines. Simpson’s heart-on-sleeve lyrics aren’t always my thing, but when she gets it right she certainly has something. And here, with just five songs – all well written, correctly chosen – she has made the most of her talents by choosing not as many of her songs. It’s a smart move. More people should be doing this. More EPs, more often.