New music from Pelican is always exciting. This quartet is as innovative as any artist or group at any popularity today. This EP proves no different, in fact one might say this is their most innovative release to date. For long time Pelican fans, I don't want to give away any spoilers as to what the music actually consists of, but the first track is reminiscent of This Will Destroy You 's self titled release first track. There are new elements on this EP that are referencing the evolving face of the 'post' genre, the sprawling often instrumental genre that has developed the past two decades. Also Pelican have created a synthesis in the final track (Taraxis) from their beautiful acoustic pieces with the full band sound, and than some. I want to say more, but I wouldn't want to read about specific new elements without hearing the EP first!
For a bit of a track by track (or maybe a bit more than a bit...), the first song Ataraxia is one of the two most experimental tracks on the album that strays from Pelican's signature sound. Great moody, apocalyptic piece to start the album, it instantly grabbed me- after a few listens its as if Neurosis and Pelican teamed up on this one. Lathe Biosas is the single that was released early for listeners, and it is no surprise. This is the most standardized track of the album, giving nothing away of the experimental edges of the EP. The only element to point out is how pop oriented the song feels, its almost an instrumental pop-punk song from our Pelican friends. I often dislike when music strays in that direction, but after the first minute of the song a section is introduced to glue this hard hitting, catchy intro together with the intricacies of Pelican's playing. the song is a really enjoyable listen framed in the Pelican catalog. Parasite Colony is a sludgy distorted mess. Perfect, this really builds off the music from What We All Come To Need, the last full length. It is evolved, even timeless. The menacing insect reference in the title reminds me of the early Isis release Constellation, which makes me very, very happy. Just another dark heavy story. I'd have to say this is even more inline with the Pelican catalog than Lathe Biosas, but not fit for a single release due to its sludgy nature. These two tracks are sandwiched in between the more experimental, yet are natural progressions of the two styles of songs Pelican often compose, the hard rocking material matured in City of Echoes and the sludgy, dark brutality apparent since their beginnings with Australasia. The final track Taraxis is quite a departure into new territory, it is again another reference to the shifting landscape of 'post' music, referencing so many influences yet expressing itself entirely as a Pelican composition.
This leads me to the cover, which as always frames the story of a Pelican album. The sky represents new territory on the horizon, the dunes are the vast expanses Pelican have traversed already to progress them along (remember Drought on Australasia?), and also represent the shifting landscape of the music scene and the band's life. The group recorded many elements of this album in several different studios across the country, displaying how a band with this many years of playing together can communicate emotions successfully without the stability of a single room, a single vibe. I was worried about this, I always love the vibe a record has, but this EP restored my faith they didn't half-measure out of convenience to do this album in many parts. Hats off to the band for another successful release, and us fans will be drooling for more in a full length that matures and evolves the new elements introduced in this EP, Ataraxia/Taraxis.