|EP Rating: B-|
The three new songs look to be a musical progression from the soft and subtle arrangements of My Forever. The stripped version of "Our July In The Rain" features one of the most intense buildups in a He Is We song, courtesy of powerful drums and strings that come in for the second verse, climaxing during the bridge. Rachel Taylor's considerable chops are on full display, as she powers through the song at her strongest. The acoustic version doesn't carry the intensity that the stripped one does, but the fragile nature of this version hits in a totally different way from the stripped one. While "Tell Me" feels like a rehash of fan favorite "Blame It On The Rain", "Skip To The Good Part" is a unique song for He Is We, as they finally use the strings on a lighter, more upbeat track rather than a song like "Fall".
The two older songs are the weakness of the EP. Aaron Gillespie's cameo was the highlight of "All About Us" on My Forever, and Owl City's Adam Young does not have the vocal talent to even compare to Gillespie. The only noticeable difference between the two versions is the change in vocalists, which simply seems as a way to promote the track with a much more well known vocalist. The live version of "Prove You Wrong" suffers from from an inability to sustain the high notes in the chorus, as the song would have sounded better if she had chosen one note to stay on rather than slurring between notes.
There's no reason to get caught up on the weaknesses of the EP. This surprise EP is like the Christmas gift that we always wanted yet had never asked for, and the appreciation for these brand new tracks should be great. Three brand new He Is We tracks are enough to tide anyone over until the band's new full length comes out in 2012. With the high quality of the tracks, one can not help but build up anticipation for what is sure to be one of the best pop releases of the coming year.
1) All About Us - featuring Adam young
2) Our July In The Rain (Stripped)
3) Tell Me
4) Skip To The Good Part
5) Our July In The Rain (Acoustic)
6) Prove You Wrong (Acoustic)