The opener and title track has a sleepy hypnotic repetition to it. Like Elliot Smith singing to a music box. The creamy Rhodes piano lends its calming influence to the track. The quiet is quickly overwhelmed by impending doom piano which hits fast but washes away quickly. The track masterfully ebbs and flows with Radiohead-like pacing. ‘Birthday Song’ has the most common rock song elements of any track on the album. His phrasing can be a little awkward at times but the airy instrumentation blurs the lines enough to make it work.
‘Children’ is a fingerpicked guitar track that owes much to White Album tracks like ‘Dear Prudence’, ‘Julia’, ‘Mother Nature’s Son’ and ‘Blackbird’ as well as much of James Taylor’s work. ‘Pour One Out’ is, if not the album’s best, at least its best executed. All the elements flow together in a rolling, in the pocket shuffle. Strings enter at the perfect time lifting the jazz fusion piece off the ground. A special shout out for Jefferey Wheaton’s superbly nimble bass lines that meander all over the track yet always find themselves in lockstep with the drums, never hogging the spotlight despite their brilliance. ‘Ode to the Dog Days’ wraps the album up with a lazy afternoon sprawl out.
The Give In EP is an expertly crafted album musically. The vocal cadence takes some getting used to but you quickly become accustomed after the second or third listen. The Radiohead vibes are strong but are informed by Bryan Away’s midwest, Illinois charm rather than Yorke and company’s brit/euro inflection.