Short and Forgotten
The short album is a resurgent and beautiful art form. The most masterful leave one satisfied, a full course condensed below thirty minutes; and even the worst are mercifully short. A form of the short album that is even rarer is the short collaboration, which are often split albums and not true collaborations. On The Time Between Us, Emma Ruth Rundle and Jaye Jayle deliver a moderately successful project that is ultimately let down by its own indecisiveness and lack of ambition.
At first, it seems the best way to describe the album is weirdly non-experimental and extremely grounded. The opening track, “The Distance,” is almost Grouper-like in its simplicity, however it achieves almost none of the masterful atmospheric control that Grouper does. The track flits by its short runtime pleasantly but forgettably, its melodies failing to remain tangible beyond its length. The most memorable track on the first half — if not the whole album — by far is “The Hand of God,” which is a delightful acoustic song with memorable lyrics of loss and violence, all boiling down to an intimately personal prayer to cover up the memories of the lost and to purge away all misery.
The second half of the album belongs to Jaye Jayle and is the more experimental of the two halves, though only marginally encompasses that label. The opening of his half, “About Time You Came To Me,” begins with buzzing noises that flutter about the background for the rest of the track, while Jayle speaks and croons over a slow southern electric guitar riff. The buzzing noises unfortunately do nothing for the atmosphere and serve only the purpose of acting as an annoyance. The lone standout of the second half is “Unnecessarily,” which abandons its take at “experimental” and trades it in for another well-conceived simple song with an acoustic guitar and drums, proving each member of this duo is at his and her best when reigned in.
Collaborations are not simple. They far too often take the worst or most predictable elements of each contributor and pressurize them into twin diamonds of mediocrity. The Time Between Us is woefully average, even the best moments on this record would be at best a nodding along moment on a strong record. To top it off, the album fails to go anywhere, forcing its short runtime to act far too much as a restriction and not an asset. Short albums are there to explore new territory and to fail or succeed in catastrophic or triumphant surges. The Time Between Us contently continues to be business as usual, and is forgotten entirely as punishment.