by Ryan Snyder

If there’s a best explanation for the slow grind to a halt by Russ Baggett’s multi-hyphenated Chapel Hill indie rock outfit the Honored Guests after more than a decade of consistently quality, if sonically capricious releases, it might have simply have been providence. Each subsequent release after their 2004 debut IAWOKEINAC- ITYASLEEP, an album as Triangle-sounding as you find at the time, suggested some degree of creative tumult was afoot to break the archetype. You could almost plot their future by Tastes Change and definitely by their 2010 swan song Please Try Again, which brought a degree of pensiveness to their pop pulled straight from the Mark Linkous playbook. That aesthetic of detachment remains in Some Army, the band into which the Honored Guests ultimately transmuted.

The five piece’s selftitled debut finds Baggett, a couple of Honored Guests bandmates and players from other well-known Triangle acts engaged in the most candid possible interpretation of Honored Guests’ folky, power poppy, shoegaze-y idiom. Boiled down, the self-produced EP takes on a kind of ephemerality that his previous albums sought but never fully grasped. Each of its seven tracks feels like a romantic flirtation with a single idea: the haunting opener “Servant Tire” explores the textural contrasts between untethered synths, upwardly swelling southern riffs and the inescapable melancholy of Baggett’s own voice.

Then there’s the overt muscularity of “Under the Streetlights,” propelled by drummer Brad Porter’s insistent, yet demonstrative fills, and the bucolic, burning swagger of “Fall On Your Sword.” Honored Guests may still technically be a band with Some Army a more concise exploration of similar musical themes, but based on the results, it’s cool if it stays that way a little longer.

77/100 Some Army performs at the Garage on Friday with Estrangers and Wild Bloode.