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(Jade Tree)

Statistics is the solo project of one Denver Dalley, whose previous claim to fame is as a member of the the Desaparecidos (pop-punk side project of Conor Oberst). He calls it his act of complete independence from that affiliation, but it was recorded with a glossy sheen at the same studio that that other record was laid to tape, and a sticker on the release namedrops both his other band and the Saddle Creek label. This self-titled EP is 5 tracks of electronic-tinged pop, sort of like a less austere Rentals or middle-era work by The Notwist (pre-Shrink).

Dalley has a damn good ear for catchy melodies, though. The opening track of "Another Day" rolls out of the gates with percolating synths and chiming guitars that provide a nice bed of sound for his breathy vocals. Although the vocals relay the malaise of everyday life, the track itself feels like a celebration of the opposite of that, rushing forth with a lively energy until a fadeout just over 4 minutes later. The second track "(A Memory)" blurs the line between the first and third tracks, sliding from a radio-static acoustic number to a huge guitar riff to a quiet instrumental with cut-up hip hop beats and chiming synths.

The racing energy is back again on "House Seemed Like Days," another poppy track with layered synths and another fairly juicy guitar riff. The vocals alternate between clean and scratchy, playing off the vocals that reminisce of what were maybe better times. Like the second track on the disc, "(A Flashback)" is another short track that feels more like a sketch of a song as looped guitars slowly build over quiet chimes and analog synth spurts. The final track of "Cure Me" takes a slightly different direction from the previous vocal tracks, with subtle filtered vocals that barely creep up from behind a clanging programmed beat and occasional wispy keyboard and guitar melodies.

Like many first-time solo projects, the release sounds a bit disjointed over the course of its 5 tracks and 15 minutes running length. Straightforward synth-pop tracks mingle with slightly more experimental instrumental tracks, but the whole thing has a fairly sensible feel to it that isn't too far left of center. The full-length is scheduled for later this year or early next, so there should be plenty of time for Dalley to figure out which direction he ultimately wants to take things.

Rating: 6.5