In Noah Baumbach's The Squid and the Whale, Bernard Berkman (Jeff Daniels) dismisses Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities as a "minor work." Whether or not this is true (one of Dickens' more boring efforts, maybe; minor? not so much), the music world's beloved "EP" is also sometimes considered to be a "minor work." Usually including no more than seven songs ”” songs that may or may not have been previously available, remixed, rerecorded, live versions, or covers ”” an EP is a short glimpse into an artist's progression or a snapshot of where they are at a designated time in their development. It can function either way. Regardless, the EP is typically forgetful, unimportant in the grand scheme (there are exceptions to this, of course). Diehard fans are usually the only ones who will spring the $8 for the EP. Even then, the EP is known to recede to the back of the CD rack and collect dust.
So, here we have A Raveling, Tara Jane O'Neil's latest EP. She's circling in a territory she's been in for some time. Her hushed vocals over acoustic textures are pleasant, comforting, but it's nothing new for her. This is an interlude in her discography ”” not a divergence. It's safe. It's only four songs, all decent ones, but nothing that will charm your pants off. It's uneventful, and its shortness leaves listeners feeling empty. If she delivered an LP in the same style of her previous work at least it would be worthwhile. A Raveling is over and done with just as you're getting absorbed. TJO abruptly ends it after the great cover of Judee Sill's "The Phoenix." Trifler.
1. All Mine Eyes
2. Don't Slip
3. Pretty D
4. The Phoenix