Compared to most local rock bands, Elusive Parallelograms have been relatively prolific since bursting onto the scene in 2008 with their debut album, And Everything Changes. The enthusiastic punk-meets-space-rock style of that record remained essentially unchanged on last year’s Modern Splendor, except the songs were longer and a bit more conventional. The new Habits EP is somewhat of a return to the scattered, punchy intent of the first album, but it’s not a step backward. If anything, it’s a successful and potent exercise in trimming fat.
Comprising six songs and clocking in at just under 15 minutes, the record is bound to leave listeners wanting more, particularly with the shimmering instrumental first track, “Reverse Polarity.” It’s really only about a third of a song, yet it feels as epic as 96 seconds possibly could. That tune and “Glue” borrow a mesmerizing, watery guitar effect from The Bends-era Radiohead, but the comparison ends there. Parallelograms rarely stick with any one melody or motif for very long—instead of another verse or chorus, they’re more likely to crank some electronic effects for a few seconds or just end the song.
The most interesting stylistic aspect of Habits is its hints of actual darkness. There’s a touch of seething aggression behind the fuzzy lurch of “Collapse” and the intoxicated sway of “Bear,” though the overall impression is still extremely good-natured. But it’s the increasingly dominant, trippy textures that define the record; the punk elements are now just highlights in a thick, Oasis-caliber psych-rock blare (especially “Three Mountains”). That seems to be just what the band has been aiming for all along, because these are certainly some of Elusive Parallelograms’ best songs yet.