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Howard Hello
(Temporary Residence)

The first two releases from Howard Hello carved out nice little unique worlds of sound that were based around electronically filtered organic instrumentation and vocals. The two short albums were warm slabs of poppy electronic folk, and there was just enough progression from the self-titled debut to Don't Drink His Blood that they didn't feel like they were sitting in one place.

This newest EP from the group is the same way in that the group again takes small steps in the progression of their sound mostly comes out on the winning end. The biggest step is that the group actually sounds more like a live band on several of the tracks instead of just a home computer project. The opening track of "More Of The Same" takes all the things that have been great about the group in the past (multiple layers of arpeggiating melodies and a keep sense of development) and places them within more of a band structure as male/female vocals intertwine with multiple guitar and keyboard melodies while live drums keep time with rather standard work.

"Interlude" is closer to the style of the group of old as clouds of guitars, vocals, and keyboards are all turned into a puffy cloud of lovely ambience. "Follow" again goes back to what the group does best, with repetitive vocals and guitar parts all pruned down into an almost pop-song length. Even though the track doesn't take a traditional structure (instead teasing along with the simple phrase "I will follow" and some vocal "doot doots"), it works very nicely. Unfortunately, the album closes with a very similar reworking of the opening track in "Even More Of The Same." It may have worked better arriving on the end of a full-length, but on the short 20-minute release, it provides little more than a pleasant bookend to a release that really felt like it was starting to go somewhere. As it stands, there are some little gems on the EP, and hopefully a hint of what direction the group is moving towards in the future.

Rating: 7