Three installments into a relatively quick succession of EPs (including Habits and Spaces, both released last year), it’s becoming apparent that Elusive Parallelograms (EP for short?) take more naturally to this format than to the full-length record. Both of their LPs, And Everything Changes and Modern Splendor, featured a lot of great songs but no continuity from start to finish—myriads of brief ideas that were individually thrilling but choppy when cobbled together. Even with a minute-long noise track to start things off, the new Fragments EP packs enough dynamic music into five proper songs to feel like a complete, almost epic piece of work.
The key tracks are right in the middle: “Semantics” and “8-Bit.” The former is a two-minute fuzz-grunge blast, washed in layers of electronic haze but propelled by a delirious four-note stomp that serves as a quasi-chorus. The pattern ends the song, as well, in a repetitive sonic bludgeoning that will spin heads. “8-Bit” is subtler, but it also moves along at a brisk clip, a staccato krautrock-ish guitar framework occasionally ambushed by massive walls of psychedelia. The vocals are buried unusually deeply in the mix of this EP; they’re often little more than a background buzz, but it’s only a minor drawback when there are so many interesting musical layers to uncover.
The rest of the record is a bit more laid back, but by no means boring. “Helium” and “Street Legal” are shimmery strolls with memorable hooks and a pleasant ebb and flow of intensity, and the final track, “Absolution,” hearkens back to the prog-y tempo shifting of the last full-length. The song is based on an urgent 3/4 strum broken up for a minute or so by a spacey, soaring bridge, and it reaches almost Zeppelin-esque levels of grandiosity by its howling finale. Inventive and impeccably crafted—and easily recognizable as Elusive Parallelograms—this may be the best batch of tunes the band has released yet.