EPs appear to becoming more the norm than I personally like from big acts.
Early on though, Serj Tankian does his best to ensure jaded listeners that this is not a cynical quick grab to top up his coffers. This is the capturing of a moment in time, a short sharp poke in the eye that forces the listener to pay attention, touted as a set of tracks that have been laying around waiting to be recorded by the band that originally brought Tankian to the attention of all and sundry – System of a Down.
The opening track is very much the eclectic kind of crazy heaviness that made SOAD stand out above the bands they were unfairly lumped in with . Beginning with a strange keyboard loop before turning on its head with a straight forward stomp, Serj shows off his at more mental side, allowing his vocals to dance all over the place. The fire lit here gets pushed further on Your Mom a paean to the seductive draw on internet conspiracy theories while buried amongst other small political jabs. This is the most obvious track on the EP that is pure SOAD, sure to please all the fans that were disappointed by their recent surprise double A side single.
Serj Tankian has never stood still in his solo career and although this EP is a collection of tracks that never made it to his day job (if they can ever actually get their shit together and record an album), he is still willing to experiment with his musical output just enough to make it stand out, as seen on the next two tracks How Many Times? and Rumi, as heavily interlaced with piano lead as they are with a heavy guitar crunch. Tankian soars over both tracks just enough to keep them out of the murky waters of ballad drudgery. Arriving as quickly as the afternoon shadows, the closing Electric Yerevan sends the EP out in a similar tone to how it arrived, an all too familiar stomp with some brilliant electrical touches.
This release is something the fans should be thank for, a small insight into the direction that SOAD may have gone if they could all agree long enough, a musical catharsis that is the complete opposite of what Serj Tankian has been doing musically for the last 10 years. Yet it still feels like a warm welcome from an old friend. Hopefully there is more stuff like this lying about his rehearsal space that we could be privileged to hear.
2. Your Mom
3. How Many Times?
5. Electric Yerevan