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Heart Caves EP

Bobby Birdman
Heart Caves EP
(States Rights Records)

Although he just dropped his Born Free Forever release earlier this year, he's already back with another short EP on a different label. Listening to the two releases side-by-side, it's pretty easy to see why he split things into two releases. If he put together too many tracks during his last sessions of recording, there was definitely a stylistic difference in the work that he was doing. Whereas his hyper-layered, almost operatic vocal tracks landed on the aforementioned disc, the Heart Caves EP is a short burst of much more electronic lounge-pop.

Opening with "A Feat So Bold," things don't sound too different until the skittering beats launch behind the swirling layers of vocals and synths. The track never really launches into anything too hyper, though, as the beats come in only alternately and the whole track breaths with a woozy flow. "And Then It Begins" follows up with bursts of low-end skronk and delayed pops, while Birdman twists and wringes his vocals like never before, turning the track into a disquieting pop track that might be the most experimental (and one of the best) things he's done to date.

Following right on the heels of the somewhat claustrophobic track is absolutely bopping "I Will Come Again," a casio-funk track sing-along that immediately erases the memory of the previous track. Although it may not be meant as such, the second half of the album actually feels like a deconstruction of the first half. "Gone Beyond" is a short, stuttering track where Kieswetter's vocals float over a thick bassline and jumpy beats while "Let My Burden Be" is a simple keyboard/vocal track and the closer of "Ultra Shape" takes said vocals and filters and chops them until they're only another breathy element amongst the clanging programming. It's the ultimate breakdown of his vocal stylings, but it's also probably the most interesting track on the album as his trademark croon is buried in noise and shattered into shards. In 19 minutes he shows off the most variety and talent yet, and despite a couple moments that don't work quite as well ("Let My Burden Be" in particularly drags things down quite a bit), Heart Caves EP is another solid work from a talent who seems to just be coming into his own.

Rating: 7.5