By: Peter Gaston
“Cinematic” is an overused term for describing pensive music with any depth of character, especially since lots of people don’t seem to read anymore. But it’s hard not to conjure faux montage after montage after a few listens to the The Departures EP from Meredith Bragg and the Terminals, a backdrop tailor-made for budding starlets clad in colorful sweaters and scarves, huddled on a sofa or spacing out behind the wheel.
“Postcard from Boston” is fraught with situational imagery that’s instantly accessible. “It’s the unsafe side of evening when the mind’s made up,” sings Bragg. “With eyes fixed on the ceiling, I find my cell, dial you up. Are you up?” It’s the EP’s sparsest, most fragile moment, mainly just Bragg and acoustic guitar meandering toward an emotional crescendo that he never really wants to embrace. Similarly poignant, “Empty Beds” is a somber tale of cutting loose filled with loneliness and uncertainty: Key refrains include “What will I do for Christmas?” and “I’m never coming back.” Like most of the EP, “Beds” is all about being lost in the most important instant of life without any easy answers, a kind of “Under the Milky Way Tonight” for the Death Cab for Cutie set.
While Bragg’s name gets the spotlight, there’s a deeper lineage to the band: Terminals Brian Minter (keys) and Jon Roth (drums) played with Bragg in Speedwell, a synthy, coed, D.C.-based rock outfit that toured with like-minded acts like the Dismemberment Plan and Jimmy Eat World before parting ways in 2003.
The Departures EP is officially out Jan. 17, but you can order it direct from the Kora Records now. A spring tour is in the works.