Lucky Dragons: "Easy Is Right"/"Take Turns"
Ecstatic Sunshine has been a rare, uncertain commodity of late. The original band, Matthew Papich and Dustin Wong (now primarily of Ponytail) as dueling surf guitar samurai, reunited for a one-off last month in New York at John Zorn's performance space, but, beyond that, news has been scarce. The band's MySpace page lists Papich as the sole member currently, down from a interim trio including David Zimmerman and Kieran Gillen. And the Ecstatic Sunshine side of this split with Los Angeles-based laptop psych stutterers Lucky Dragons is credited to both Papich and Joe "White" Williams.
"Easy Is Right" is a relatively straight-forward bit of sonic glaze. Built mostly of clipped, glimmering guitar riffs stacked together like sections of a weaving millipede, the song doesn't particularly build, release, or hold much narrative at all. If it does build, it's in texture. As it moves along, a bass line enters, way in the back of the mix, and fun guitar sproings work their way into the interlocking riff samples, forming a weird sort of cartilage. Fans of "old" Ecstatic Sunshine--the organic version with guitars and not so much electronics--should be pleased to hear this. The song is simple and still plenty manipulated, but has a warmth and radiance that hasn't always translated well in different stages of the band.
"Take Turns," the Lucky Dragons flipside of the disc--high-quality vinyl thick as a serving plate--is nothing but love: ethereal coos, warm marimba, flutes, and shakers chopped and layered with the light, organic touch that's become the LD style as opposed to the sometimes trying sample-splatter or earlier compositions. It's a wonderful complement to Ecstatic Sunshine's summery tune.