There’s a lot of symmetry happening on the eight tracks of Home, Vol. 5, part of a series released by Austin, Texas, label Post Parlo.
Andrew Kenny, formerly of the American Analog Set, and Ben Gibbard, from Death Cab for Cutie, divide the EP in half, four songs from each, with one singing a song of the other. They don’t sing together on any of the tracks.
Kenny and Gibbard could also be considered flip sides of the same vocal coin — both have distinct, soothing voices. Songwriting-wise, Gibbard writes more extrovertedly than Kenny.
The only thing threading Home together is the instrumentation — guitar and voice, maybe a drum kit here and there.
This disc could almost be considered something of the Battle Between the Golden-Voiced Indie Singer-Songwriters.
In one corner, Kenny scrapes his way over the fret board, barely rising above a whisper. In the other corner, Gibbard practically belts by comparrison, sticking to the usual chords.
In reality, they’re not opposites so much as refractions of the same aesthetic.
But if a winner had to be chosen, it goes to Kenny, as evidenced by Gibbard’s reading of Kenny’s “Choir Vandals”. The track stands out among Gibbard’s own songs, and Gibbard sounds great singing the song. When Kenny tackles Gibbard’s “Line of Best Fit”, he slows it down and makes it conform to his own pace.
Home, Vol. 5 is a nice diversion, and it would probably faltered under its own weight were it expanded to something bigger. It may feel somewhat incidental, but that’s the trick about EPs — they have to make their points quicker than full length albums.