Quality: 3.25 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 3.5 out of 5
The Essex Green EP followed their debut LP by a few months, but it's unfortunately a little bit of a step back. I think the band wanted to make their music more contemporary-sounding, but to do that they sacrificed one of their strengths by clearing up the haze in their productions. They also managed to accentuate one of their weaknesses as the vocals here are completely rooted in 90's indie rock, unfortunately destroying the illusion of a quality 60's psych pop disc as they managed on about half of their debut LP. But let's not stay negative; there is some fine material here.
The standout by far is the opening track "Fabulous Day." Although my complaint about the vocals remain, it's not too bad here and the song is extremely well written. The psychedelic slithering of the instruments in the tracks is quite enjoyable to behold. "Trees" isn't too bad either, but "Chester" make me want to vomit my Lucky Charms, and "New Orleans" is a B-list cosmic country rock track that doesn't hold a candle to Gram Parsons (or Beachwood Sparks, who manage a good cosmic country sound contemporary to the Essex Green). We finally get some worthwhile sounds with the probing "Bald," although the songwriting is nowhere near the quality of the first track.
Basically, I would only give "Fabulous Day" a full thumbs up for your discerning attention. You really need to hear Everything Is Green first. But if you are in fact having a fabulous day, then this bite-sized chunk of music may rub you the right way.