In an age of easy access to digital recording and instant Internet distribution to a single-driven market, spending two years writing and recording six songs and releasing them as a hard-copy album seems old-fashioned. But that's what Boise band The Well Suited did for its debut EP, The Story of James Douglas.
But it isn't just the band's recording style that is wistfully retro. The EP's sound tosses out the simple verse-chorus structure to employ a more complex lyrical and auditory story that owes largely to '70s prog-rock. The album uses big rock riffs, layers of analog synthesizers, sprawling arrangements and fantastical lyrics to explore the concept of love in the time of a robot apocalypse.
The third track, "I'm Your Machine," is the closest thing the album has to a single, with a catchy singalong section and a driving beat.
The rest of the EP moves like a single rolling composition with elements of classic rock stalwarts like Rick Wakeman and Pink Floyd. And while it lacks some of the masterful recording fidelity of an album like Dark Side of the Moon, The Story of James Douglas is still well composed, complex, unpredictable, moody, poppy and occasionally frustrating.
The Story of James Douglas isn't the sort of thing you'll belt out while driving down the freeway, but there's a decent chance that if you hit play right as the lion roars in The Wizard of Oz, you might find it sheds a very different light on the Tin Man.