Sometimes, the best way to jumpstart songwriting creativity is playing someone else's song. That wasn't necessarily the plan when Dulcesky set out to cover the mighty Ride in early 2007, but it ended up being the result. Long Ride fans, Oliver Valenzuela (Vocals, Guitar), Mitchell Razon (Drums), and Daniel Valenzuela (Bass), jumped at the chance to cover 'Unfamiliar,' a Nowhere-era b-side, for a Ride tribute album. But it wasn't a matter of simply going into the studio and banging out a version of the song in an afternoon. Dulcesky tried slowing the tempo down and a few other ideas that went, well, nowhere. Stuck, the band turned to technology. A Groovebox sampler was enlisted, and the band had a revelation: strap the straight-ahead rock of 'Unfamiliar' to a two-step, almost disco beat, and watch the sparks fly. The result was a driving, powerful take on a classic and, eventually, a window into the recording of the Unfamiliar EP. When it became apparent that the Ride tribute album had stalled and possibly would never see the light of day, Dulcesky decided to release their cover instead of letting it gather dust. And then the songs started coming: 'Icon of Distress,' a politically charged slow burner with the band's trademark textured guitars, 'In Your Way,' an atmospheric ode to reconciliation, and the elegiac 'Ana in a Dream,' a deeply personal and beautiful song featuring acoustic strumming and arpeggios (elements rarely heard in the Dulcesky camp) on a bed of shimmering keyboards. What came from the circuits of that unwitting Groovebox turned out to be a coherent work that furthers Dulcesky's story in exciting ways. The Unfamiliar EP fits perfectly within the band's discography while suggesting potential new horizons in their sound. More than a transitional work, though, the songs here speak for themselves: four tracks that, taken together, are a testament to an enduring band's creative vision.
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