[BEAT POP] I really want to compare Fanno Creek to the Shaky Hands. It’s not that the trio’s sound particularly reminds of that gone-but-not-forgotten Portland act—sure, there’s some jangle here and a bit of harmony there—it’s just that Fanno Creek’s live show approaches the Shakies’ live energy and enthusiasm. That’s something Portland has been missing.
The 13-minute End Is End EP compiles five songs Fanno Creek penned between 2008 and 2010, then recorded recently at the Southeast Portland studio of Emigrate Records. The songs aren’t as ambitious as those recorded for last year’s six-song Green Houses EP—they remind more of early Beatles tunes than anything else—but the EP’s harmony-laden cuts have become favorites at the Beaverton- and Forest Grove-bred trio’s live shows, so the band decided to finally commit them to tape.
Opener “The Greatest” is a lyrically schizophrenic number that opens with a reverb-laden, doo-woppy a cappella featuring dual vocalists Quinn Mulligan and Evan Hailstone. It’s a fitting start to an album where Mulligan and Hailstone sing nearly every word in harmony: On “She Said” and “I Need You Here,” those vocals continue along the opener’s head-bobbing course, with dashes of twang and rockabilly influence spread throughout. It’s the lush “Man Beast” that hints at more mature Fanno Creek songwriting to come—and it does come—but the frantic title track that closes the collection proves just how good Fanno Creek has always been at writing structurally simple songs loaded with big ideas.
Some people prefer early Beatles. Some people just want the Shaky Hands back.
SEE IT: Fanno Creek releases End Is End at Kelly’s Olympian, 426 SW Washington St., on Friday, July 27, with Talkative and Old Age. 9 pm. Free. 21+.