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Elena EP

Puerto Muerto
Elena EP
(Fire Records)

Following close on the heels of last years album Your Bloated Corpse Has Washed Ashore, the Elena EP contains 7 new tracks from the group and is again a concept album. Rather than regailing about pirate ships and the like, this time the husband and wife duo spin tales based around a young girl who is a little bit wicked and somewhat too mature for her age. It's great territory for the group to explore (as they did so well on their songs of the high seas), and even though they've expanded their sound somewhat, they don't sound like they're stretching themselves too thin.

On their first release, the duo seemed to revel in the fact that they were doing more with less (little more than drums, guitar, and bass), and on this release they've expanded into synths, programmed beats, and other little flourishes to fill things out a bit more. After opening with a track that basically acts as an intro skit (that unfortunatley loses its novelty after the first listen, as most do), the album starts in earnest with "Father's Treasure," a warm carny atmosphere that opens the tale. "Pretty Girls" falls into almost a trip-hop groove as warm pads play over filtered beats and Christa Meyer's vocals are as great as ever.

"Boy" follows things up with a soft lullaby of chimes and strings, while "Heartbreak" opens with a low-end drone before turning into an off-kilter sort of fairy tale with a mixture of German and English vocals (something that's done on several tracks on the release). Providing a bit of padding to the release are 3 remixes of different tracks on the disc, and although they don't really add anything to the disc, none of them are really obtrusive other than running on for too long (a problem that the group normally doesn't have). If anything, they provide yet another little direction for a group that seems ready to toss something new into the ring with each release. If their previous album and this EP aren't enough, the group already has a full-length follow-up completed for release later this year, and based on what they've done so far, I know I'm curious to see what they'll do.

Rating: 7