The End of the World

The End of the World EP

(Risk the Rook Records; 2004)

By Dom Sinacola | 6 November 2007

Things happen. Someone wakes up and goes to the bathroom. The End of the World release their debut EP. Stuff reciprocates. “A man once said that a man once said” stuff about finding a place in life. Stuff happens.

And maybe then, shit happens. At least that’s what this New York quartet’s titular omen would suggest. Even so, they bang out sharp melodies full of quotidian despair and, well, repetition; much like their contemporary chronies (Interpol, the Walkmen), they can sell themselves on intensity and breathless rhythms, gripping enough melody to still stay interesting. And the New York blood does run deep, but The End of the World’s charm---not the cutesy condescending kind, but the clingta Colin Meloy type---keeps these four songs as intriguing as the album’s frozen bikini-clad cover.

“This Little Theater” is tighter than Julian Casablancas’s Jordaches (finally! take that!), and you may have heard it during Saturated Color Tilted-Camera Shot #23 in Jonathan Demme’s The Manchurian Candidate. Stefan Marolachakis‘s lyrics, weakening in increments over the course of the EP, begin strongly: “To take a step and see it unfold / Watch the forms function and behave,” Marolachakis then stretches his maudlin voice all over a tale of one young man’s daily, obedient purpose. It is true that a hunkering menace lingers under the band’s release. A mix, maybe, of the looming disappointment of slipping into formula with a general sense of slow, sexy Apocalypse. A foot from cracking your pretty head on the edge of the pool.

“Faces” reveals a more complete picture of the band. Benjamin Smith’s guitar seethes when it’s crunchiest, jack hammering next to Robert Stillman’s fisted clamor. Paul Jenkins bounces behind Smith’s hurried strumming, an extra promise of melody left on the palette after each measure. Major props, though, for front man Marolachakis and his indefatigable swagger. The barbershop-doo-wop-wop pace of “The Slip” bends and snaps at Marolachakis’s bleary-eyed behest. It’s one fun time.

“Tuesday Becomes Wednesday” does little else besides chopping the fury of its predecessors in two with Julie Andrews’s umbrella. It’s also half the length of the other three songs, which makes its quick and wispy beat a snappy diversion.

The End of the World’s debut is a fine introduction to Risk the Rook Records and a promise of a fatter, bloodier LP. Everything about it looks to a greater, more devoted audience, thicker masses of airborne females, and a final leap from the mire of being lumped in with their regional buddies. Even better, the band doesn’t wear ambiguously socialist armbands and Winston Churchill suspenders. Cheers to their first day on the job.