5 Track EP From my point of view as a fan in Sweden, with all Mental As Anything concerts taking place on the other side of the planet, it had been a long time of no new music by the band when the “Shake Off Your Sandals” single was released in 2015. “Goat Tracks In My Sandpit” followed in 2016 (titled just “Goat Tracks” on the front of that single’s cover but using the full title on the back of the sleeve). Both were great, but it also felt a bit meager that there had been just two new songs released in the seven years which by that time had passed since the excellent Tents Up album. It was therefore great news when 5 Track EP was released in 2017, with five songs, half an album, giving the tantalizing hope that a full length studio album of new songs might follow. Mental As Anything had yet another new line-up, but based on the EP it was a superb line-up with stellar musicians and both Martin Plaza and Greedy Smith also brought A grade songs to the new EP. Dance With You I love the great energy of this song. It has a strong melody, very catchy and the song has a kind of euphoric determined feel. Interesting lyrics, with the narrator sounding head over heels in love but also feeling the woman’s over-protective brothers are getting in the way. As with the later track “The Luckiest Player” I get vivid images of a dance hall of the early ‘60s lyrically, but the music sounds very fresh and contemporary. In particular, the bass groove by James Gillard adds a lot of intensity to the music. Brilliant track! Goat Tracks In My Sandpit I find this very catchy and immediate. The lyrics, which do mention an old Mental As Anything album title, are quite funny too. If I am not mistaken, The Sandpit is the name of Martin Plaza’s home studio. Great guitar playing on this song and the bluesy harmonica adds a lot of colour. There’s also a banjo thrown in here and there. Almost needless to say, Martin’s singing is excellent, and this song should have been a major hit. The Luckiest Player A very romantic song with a harmonious, happy feel. In a way it sounds like a song that comes straight from dance halls of the early ‘60s but done with a contemporary production. Greedy sounds so happy singing this and the band truly gels, playing with great empathy. I really like the doo-wop-ish backing vocals and Martin Cilia’s guitar solo which adds to the retro-but-new atmosphere of the song. The animated video clip is very well done too, really nice. Shake Off Your Sandals This was a very welcome single when it was released in 2015, the first new Mentals song in 6 years. I like how the lyrics portray the bliss of being in the early days of a happy relationship and the intense emotions. The outside world barely exists and the couple are devoted to each other. It’s interesting to listen to the lyrics of Greedy’s three songs on this EP. He has written several songs in the past on the themes of jealousy and unrequited love, but on this EP all of his songs are about a happy relationship. The title itself says a lot, adding a real warm summer’s day feel to the song, both literally and metaphorically. The backing track is quite complex, with lots of details and in particular the drumming is superb, adding some musical drama and making the song very special. That Girl I like the blend in this song of quite heavy blues-ish rock, a ‘60s pop feel while also sounding contemporary and Martin’s excellent singing. He has always been a top notch singer and here he managed to surpass himself, again. As this EP, released some 8 years after Tents Up, features “only” two tracks by Martin yet both showcase his songwriting qualities, I wonder how many unreleased songs he has written since 2009 and if we might get to hear them some day. Here’s hoping! As it turned out, a planned recording of a new full length album in 2020 did not happen due to the sad and untimely loss of Greedy Smith. The EP gives a glimpse of what might have been and it is wonderful to know that Mental As Anything were still going strong, with top quality songwriting and musicianship more than four decades into their career (even if they perhaps could have come up with a more imaginative and creative title for the EP…).