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1st Base Runner, aka Austin, Texas singer-songwriter Tim Husmann, has returned with a highly ambitious EP of trance-like indie rock called Ellis; ostensibly named after his collaboration with Bryan Ellis. The songs on Ellis have the same dreamy atmospherics as his previous full-length release Seven Years of Silence, but there is also a newfound brightness here, as if Husmann is slowly inching himself out of the abyss. Yet there remains plenty of moody post-punk here for fans of Joy Division or This Mortal Coil, but it has been imbued with a healthy portion of shoegaze and dream pop. Although this is something of a stopgap between Seven Years and his forthcoming third record, Ellis is just as deserving of your attention and just as significant.
The opening track “Near Me” floats weightlessly in space and its circular, mantra-like structure lodges itself in the listener’s brain instantly. Husmann’s hazy vocals work to a marvelous effect here, and they serve the darker material just as well like “Numbers” which sounds like one of the better more recent tracks by Depeche Mode. The most pop-like song, and the prettiest moment on the EP is “WXW,” but it’s pop at a distance, suspended and swimming in amber. Ellis is a fantastically hypnotic collection of songs, and a giant step forward for 1st Base Runner’s sound.
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