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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Project 86 -- The Kane Mutiny EP / This Time of Year EP


The Kane Mutiny EP puts a bow on the trio + Jason Gerken on drums phase of Project 86, with three previously unreleased songs recorded during the Rival Factions sessions, plus two  remixes of ...And the Rest Will Follow songs...creating an interesting, if non-cohesive five-song listening experience. Also, I've always wanted to put both a plus-sign, and the word "plus" into a sentence together. Mission accomplished.
The three songs from the Rival Factions sessions are all great, just about as good as anything on that excellent album. However, I can't see where any of them would have fit on Rival Factions. "The Kane Mutiny" is not quite on par with Rival Faction's other faced-paced songs, "Lucretia, My Reflection" is a cover song (an awesome cover song), and would have stuck out like a sore thumb as the only one on an album of originals, and "Rte. 66," though a total stunner, nevertheless features a straightforward declaration of faith completely lacking in Rival Factions' ten tracks--it just doesn't fit the theme of the full length. Thankfully, these three songs are collected here for the Project 86 fan's listening pleasure.

It's a curious choice to follow these three with remixes of songs from two albums before, but it seems the band wanted to give listeners more bang for their buck. The first is a cover of "Something We Can't Be" by Echoing Green cult legend Joey Belville, and it's just fine. The second is possibly longtime band guitarist Randy Torres' final contribution to the band (it's extremely difficult to tell exactly where in the band's discography Torres left), a remix of "From December." It's not bad, and helped launch Torres into a pretty storied sound design career.
If you're a fan, you should pick this up (it's only available digitally). If you're only a casual the first three songs...this isn't really a great place to start. Then again, if you're a fan, you probably already on The Kane Mutiny EP.


Here is where things get murky. No one knows for sure who is playing the instruments on the This Time of Year EP, outside of whoever was in the studio recording it. The drums no longer sound like they're being pounded by Gerken, and the feeling of the music doesn't bring to mind Torres work (he could have been there and phoning it in, I guess). It is known definitively that Torres left before the band recorded their next full length, but this EP is a bit of a mystery. Bassist, Steven Dail, likely played here, even though his distinctive style is absent. The band's style in general is actually fairly absent, making the prospect of Project 86 doing Christmas music less promising. What's here is murky, fairly generic sounding hard rock, with a creepy abandoned mall throughline, highlighted by plenty of haunting keyboard. Most of the songs here are originals, and none stick much, outside of "Misfit Toys," whose music and lyrical content click just right. Someone made a video for the song with footage from Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer that fits its atmosphere and themes perfectly. I'd almost say this EP is worth it just for that song. If you like "Misfit Toys," you'll probably be okay with the rest. The other songs aren't bad, just a bit boring, though I do enjoy the atmosphere. I think it's at least worth a listen. Though it doesn't tickle my fancy as much as I'd like it to, this feels like one of the more subjective listens in Project 86's discography, mystery musicians or not.

2007 Tooth & Nail Records
1. The Kane Mutiny 3:31
2. Lucretia, My Reflection (The Sisters of Mercy cover) 3:41
3. Rte. 66 3:52
4. Something We Can't Be (Joey B. Remix) 3:40
5. From December (Randy T. Mix) 4:08

2008 Team Black
1. This Time of the Year 2:46
2. Wrought on This Holiday's Eve 3:14
3. Shiny Skin 3:46
4. Misfit Toys 3:26
5. What Child? 3:54

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