Music review – Erin Passmore: Downtown EP

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Erin Passmore
Downtown
Hidden Pony

Rah Rah has long been at the forefront of music in Regina, having formed around a decade ago and been terrific all the while.
But they’ve understandably grown in that time, from putting out Violent Femmes-inflected ditties to something darker and more distinct. That’s got a lot to do with growth within the band. For example, founding member Erin Passmore started off as a snare-happy drummer, but moved on to sing the occasional lead and eventually contribute her own songs. Now, she’s released a solo record, the Downtown EP.

It’s a record that takes you by surprise. Passmore has always seemed sort of a gentle presence, but Downtown is anything but shy – it can be downright ferocious. “Into the Woods” and “Married” are both gorgeous, keyboard-heavy near-waltzes, but the title track is all blistering guitars and wouldn’t feel out of place on a Ladyhawk album. Though this is clearly a studio effort – it’s hard to pull off Mellotron and flugelhorn live – the studio never runs away with itself; Passmore’s writing always shines through. Case in point, “Sad Song,” with its layers of guitars that seem poised to explode, but stay as resigned and mournful as Passmore herself here.
“Don’t marry me / won’t marry at all,” she sighs as waves of Flaming Lips drums crash about her.

Downtown allegedly grew from five songs to eight in the process of recording, meaning we’d have had a full album on our hands if the sessions dragged out a bit more. Hopefully we’ll end up with one some time soon.

Mason Pitzel
Production Manager

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