The Timeout Drawer Presents Left for the Living Dead EP

[Chocolate Industries; 2003]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles: digital-age post-rock with a good measure of organic elements and prog
Others: Mogwai, GY!BE, Do Make Say Think, Múm, Port-Royal, M83

Another one of those bands who defy classification, The Timeout Drawer seem to be the most easily pigeonholed by the "post rock" moniker. They are an instrumental band with prog-rock keyboards and some beautiful, melodic guitar and six-string bass playing -- not quite as loud as Mogwai and not quite as epic as Godspeed You! Black Emperor. According to a post on the band's website, The Timeout Drawer describes themselves as an "emotionally stirring and melody-based instrumental prog-kraut-post-rock outfit." This is as apt a description as any, and comes straight from the horse's mouth.

On Presents Left for the Living Dead, The Timeout Drawer continue in the same direction they headed with their first two proper albums, which were released on their own label, Some Odd Pilot. This new EP, however, seems to hint at a future direction for the band as they expand upon their original style and branch out into more diverse and complex territory. A little heavier on the analog synth keyboards than on their two previous releases, I am highly excited about the prospect of an upcoming new LP release from the band. This is good stuff: proggy, dramatic, and extremely melodic. There are three new, and fairly long, Timeout Drawer tracks on this EP, with the fourth and final track being a reworking of the first by label mate/producer Caural. The band experiment with complex, almost Tortoise-like, time signatures on the first track, "Terrible Secrets Revealed for an Instant by a Flash of Lightning." As with most of The Timeout Drawer’s music, it’s primarily a keyboard-driven piece. "Broad Grins from the Boarding Ramp" features some gorgeous electric piano and a drum machine in lieu of a drum kit. The third track, "Hunting with Fire," is similar to Mogwai with its quiet-loud-quiet structure and dramatic dynamics.

Too many instrumental rock albums and experimental music out there today is emotionally and musically cold. Unlike the majority, however, Presents Left for the Living Dead is warm and vibrant with melody and emotion. The only track that doesn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the record is the Caural remix, which, though colder and more hip-hop oriented than the other tracks, still has the signature Timeout Drawer sound. It is, nevertheless, a somewhat unnecessary (but not entirely unwelcome) addition to this EP.

1. Terrible Secrets Revealed in an Instant by a Flash of Lightning
2. Broad Grins from the Boarding Ramp
3. Hunting With Fire (The Most Fertile Ground for Drama)
4. Terrible Secrets Concealed in an Instant by a Flash of Lightning (Caural Remix)