On the de facto title track of Ten Tiers' latest, group leader Jonathan Tiersten sings about slipping "into the comforts of drunkenness
" an appropriate phrase, given the intriguingly woozy, off-kilter tenor of the EP as a whole. The disc stumbles at times but somehow manages to remain upright. Take "I'm Alone," for instance. Even though the main body of the tune edges toward whininess, the track is saved by a bizarre middle section featuring heavier guitar work by Glen Esparza and Chris Childress and double-tracked vocals that juxtapose spoken-word intonations with wailed non sequiturs like "Shadows!
" and "Touch me!
" And if "Surface Feelings" represents the sort of emotional nakedness that probably should have been covered with a towel, it's preceded by "How to Love You," a swirling rocker that shows off the band's myriad strengths. At its best, Ten Tiers' music can be intoxicating. The key is to know when to say when.