Subtle Wishingbone

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The past 12 months have been life-changing for Bay Area hip-hop sextet Subtle. In surviving and recovering from a devastating tour-van accident that left keyboardist Dax Pierson quadriplegic, the mettle of these Oakland boys has been put to the test. But Pierson and his band silenced fears that their spirit was broken as Subtle returned to the road and Dax began a long rehabilitation process last year. Wishingbone, the group's first release since the accident, and its first since 2004's A New White-is a triumphant collection of new material, re-approaches, and remixes. Regardless of its small stature, this tease for a follow-up full-length has a certain gravity to it, especially on songs like "I Love L.A. II" and the wide-winged remix of Beck's "Farewell Ride." This EP feels like a study in perseverance, with Subtle emerging from a hellish 2005 as one of the most determined and inspiring bands of 2006.