Fire Drill Album Review: Offered as a free download to concertgoers who attend shows on his tour in support of the excellent American Soft, Chris Staples’ Cheap Shades EP is a strong and surprisingly unified release. The two new tracks (“Cheap Shades” and “Cindy, Diana, Janet and Wanda”) are joined by two live tracks (“Domino Effect” and “Early Bird Tavern”) as well as a cover of Built to Spill’s “Center of the Universe,” but the results are far from scatterbrained, instead showcasing Staples’ penchant for wry humor, affecting imagery, and his effortless sense of melody. “Bonus tracks,” yes, but ones with plenty of substance.
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– Reviewed by Simon Workman
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