Pop 'n' sprawl

Curd and Thompson mete out an EP that merits deep headphone listening

A collaboration between the Pop Project guitarist and Suburban Sprawl mainman Zach Curd and Johnny Headband leader and Electric Six sideman Keith Thompson? File this under "Sounds Like These Guys Know What the Fuck They're Doing." In fact, the three jams here are an economical testament to the pop chops of the former and the grand musical gestures of the latter.

As with the first Desktop EP released digitally and on 12-inch in May, this one's the result of a couple dudes playing sonic tennis over e-mail. The result is a mini-master's course in correspondence composition. It's a testament to their chemistry that even with interloping communication technologies the jams here are not just cohesive, whole and of a piece, but manage to move both the cerebral pleasure center and the booty.

"Come Home To Me" opens with a warped, dusty brass fanfare before stretching out on the lawn and getting truly squiggly with it over thick synth basslines and an insistent, laid-back stomping backbeat.

The EP's centerpiece, "Head Games," borrows cues from Prince's mid-'80s glory days; a funky first-person address to a lady friend that sits snugly between the minimalist electro funk of Detroit Grand Pubahs, classic '80s synth-pop production and a sly, dreamy, romantic lyrical self-awareness. (You are more than ravishing/laid up on my bed/You were made so perfectly/and only in my head.) It helps that the "I'm going crazy" chorus and "alright, alright" hooks are insanely catchy.

Closer, "The City," trades in a simple tension, alternating between simple, mildly occidental keyboard sounds over a palpitating beat and an echo-drenched vocal chorus before signing off on a single "goodnight" keyboard note.

It's genuinely encouraging that in the overcrowded, grip-it-and-rip-it instant digital music environment we soak in, that bona fide craftsmen like Curd and Thompson can mete out an EP that merits deep headphone listening and frequent party playback.

Look for Desktop 2 on Aug. 24, at any online digital retailer. 

Chris Handyside writes about music for the Metro Times. E-Mail [email protected].

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