Annie Hardy and Michael Calabrese revive the 1990s distorted guitar sound on their 4-song EP, with a stripped down set-up of guitar(s), drums, and vocals from Annie. Giant Drag started in the early 2000s, but the sound and vocals are reminiscent of bands like Sonic Youth and Helium. Annie’s vocals retain their vinegary sweetness as the lean guitars wheel around and clash with both dissonance and melody (the key to Sonic Youth’s sound).
“Swan Song” is a bit spare at first, with Annie sing-talking in a high, tart tone, but then a rhythmic drum beat kicks in along with picked, bright guitar and another buzzing guitar line. Wordless, airy female backing vocals swirl around until the 3-minute mark when the pace suddenly builds and the distorted guitar comes to the fore, growling against the other guitar that follows Annie’s beguilingly girlish melody line.
Annie lays it on the line vocally, emotionally, and lyrically on “Stuff to Live For”, starting out quietly and intimately, KatieJane Garside-like, breathing into the mic, with her emotions close to the surface and about to break through. A steady beat and angular, winding guitars accompany Annie as she pushes out her words, exclaiming to the point of shouting “Don’t tell me life’s a bore / I’ve got stuff to live for.” The intensity of the instrumentation increases with a bluesy refrain of guitar and constant cymbal crash.
“White Baby” sounds like a slightly muted, long-lost Placebo song (minus the dramatic whirlwind guitars) with Annie an uncanny ringer for, a twin sister to, Brian Molko. Rangy, hard guitars back Annie as she patters coyly that “You make me talk like a baby…” In a change of pace, “Heart Carl” is an alt-folk number with gently strummed acoustic guitar and a wistful, low-key Annie, with a slight waver on certain words, singing “We just want somebody to reach out and kiss / someone who hardly exists.”