Phaser Skydive

Washington's Phaser have come up with an EP that strives to have epic qualities - they try to make as big a sound as possible, and you get the feeling that when they perform these songs live that they go on a lot longer than they do on the CD. They layer guitar upon guitar and do a similar thing with the vocals - it's a tried and tested formula that works here, too. There are spiritual similarities between this the likes of Slowdive and the other melodic shoe-gazing bands of days gone by (albeit with more obvious vocals thrown into the mix). Phaser lets every track build up slowly, particularly on the closing "Last Letter Home," which takes a good five minutes before it really finds its stride and then hangs around for a couple more. Skydive is a respectable outing for any band, although it lacks some of the originality to make it to make it absolutely essential. (Independent)