Music Notes reviews the local band's latest EP release.
Milwaukee grungy noise-makers Elusive Parallelograms took a major step forward as a band with the release of last year’s Modern Splendor, an impressively mature and focused effort that showcased the band’s ability to effectively mix frenzied energy, tripped out instrumentation and ear-grabbing melody. And while the album dialed back the raw, punk-infused intensity of the band’s debut And Everything Changes to great effect, it did leave a bit to be desired on the tempo front.
Enter HABITS, the band’s new 6-song EP set to be released February 14, which builds upon both the mature songwriting and high energy of its predecessors. The EP opens with an upbeat, dreamy soundscape of an instrumental track, “Reverse Polarity,” that picks up the pace along the way, adding distorted guitars before devolving into a chaotic mesh of synthesized noise and feedback. It’s a fitting beginning to an EP that careens along at breakneck speed (the six songs clock in at a total runtime of 14:47) and provides a few refreshing curveballs along the way.
The album covers an impressive amount of ground in its short duration, jockeying effortlessly between the aptly named, all-out psychedelic punk rocker “No Time,” the beautiful and patient “Glue,” the droning party anthem “The Bear,” and the space rock-infused “Collapse.” Closing track “Three Mountains” is the opus of the group, clocking in at 3:40, and showcasing the band’s ability to tone it down and croon with the best of them.
What’s most striking when listening to HABITS is how comfortable the band sounds taking on all of these personalities at once. Sure the songs all bear the band’s hallmark guitar fuzz, trippy synthesized interludes and distorted vocals, but its application varies enough from track to track to give an incredibly brief effort a wholly satisfying depth. The EP stands as an intriguing new chapter in the life of one of the city’s most promising young groups.
But you don’t have to take my word for it. Elusive Parallelograms has been nice enough to stream the entire EP for free here. And if you like what you hear, check out the HABITS release show at the Cactus Club on Friday, Feb. 3, with guests 1956 and Moss Folk.