Beginning with 1993’s Rise Above, Epic Soundtracks (formerly of Swell Map) released three solo efforts rich in tasteful songwriting and high on a traditional approach his old post-punk outfit couldn’t use. It wasn’t the hookiest music, but perfect pacing and a wry veneer helped Epic own his trad-pop pieces. Soundtracks died unexpectedly in 1997, and brother and Swell Maps mate Nikki Sudden compiled the odds ’n’ sods remembrance Everything is Temporary. But before his death, Epic had been writing and tracking with collaborator and Chamber Strings creator Kevin Junior, and that material resurfaces as Good Things. It’s a captivating final chapter in the Epic Soundtracks saga, an eerie, weary, but ultimately heartening stretch of pop melancholia. There’s scant percussion, the piano ripples through splotchy reverb, and Soundtracks often ambles onto sadly prescient lines like “Catch as I fall/Or there be nothing left at all.” One track features a brief phone conversation between him and Junior, and its scratchy studio effects are like a live wire to the afterlife. Good Things is moody, but it retains a traditional pop amble. With Soundtracks’ plaintive vocal and the focus on piano and acoustic guitar, it suggests a fantasy splice of the Carpenters and the Clientele.
Johnny Loftus writes about music for Metro Times. E-mail email@example.com.