Loyal Divide's self-titled EP lacks a consistent sound, due in part to an evolving songwriting process over the years, but it shows the band's mastery of a variety of styles.
"Backes" blows the lid off with ominous drums and bass, Adam Johnson ranting righteously through a swelling soundtrack that recalls Wolf Parade or Arcade Fire. The switch to the midnight funk of "The Tease" is jarring, but the music passes the test, reveling in Chris Sadek's fearless falsetto, trumpet blasts, funky bass and dancy beats. Later, "Lights" nods to Animal Collective before indulging into nervous balladry.
The songs are strong, but the band's potential shows most in its attention to detail — a gleeful piano slide amidst a harrowing rocker, video-game bleeps coupled with hiccuping horns, a well-placed female backing vocal. Rather than unhinged or floppy, it sounds carefully considered and powerfully executed.
- Chris DeVille