Eli August is a solo project/alternate identity for Jon Koschorek from Fermata. He's stripped down the chamber orchestration of that band to bare bones on this debut EP.
I'm usually a bit leery of of basic, acoustic music. It's often too.. well, basic and acoustic for me. But this EP really, really works.
"I Was Already Too Late" starts off with the piano based "Hide and Seek". I like this (strangely abbreviated) ballad but it doesn't really grab me, at least not like the second track "Atmosphere". This is a great song and the strength of it can be traced back to one thing: Jon's voice. It both soars and yearns. It is strong but seems about to shatter with fragility as he opens his heart. "Vanish" is a solid follow up to "Atmosphere" and helps keep my attention piqued.
I go back and forth over which is a better song: "Atmosphere" or "I did Not Leave the Door Ajar", this EP's fourth number. Here Eli August's rock influences really come out in this tale of someone gone past the "suspicious minds" stage into the full-blown "paranoid minds" stage of a crumbling relationship. A wonderful song.
The collection ends with the appropriately coda-like "Lost Control". This piece sighs like an afterword to a novel.
The instrumentation here is fairly basic: a voice, an acoustic guitar, a bit of drumming. When instrumental chances are taken by Eli August they really pay off. The concert ukulele on "Atmosphere" comes across like a minimalist banjo giving it a humble country sound while the upright bass on the same tume seems almost cello-like giving it somber depth. The clarinet on "Lost Control" accentuates the wistful, closing-dream feel of this song.
It's always hard to judge an EP. But I think in this case there are two great songs ("Atmosphere" and "I Did Not Leave the Door Ajar") and one very good song ("Vanish"). Also of import is that there are no clunkers on this collection. I don't hate a single song, I just prefer some over others. So, yes, this is worth your time/attention/money.