Returning with their first new material since 2009, Chicago’s Pelican deliver unto us yet another EP – they do love ’em – with ‘Ataraxia/Taraxis‘, their third release for Southern Lord. It’s free of the distractions that were brought with ‘What We All Come to Need’, namely the numerous guest appearances and the presence of a vocalist (The Life and Times/Shiner’s Allen Epley) on ‘Final Breath’ that became such a talking point for a band which, musically, has become more introspective of late. The new EP is a return to basics for the band, focusing squarely on the efforts of its four members, although there’s absolutely no surprises from Pelican on this release, and truth be told, there rarely is, although their influences have seemingly shifted over the years.
That the band’s opening track ‘Ataraxia’ serves as a dark entrée to the EP could also perhaps be put down to the respective members’ decision to move to different parts of the United States. Whatever, already it appears to be paying dividends, as it is a pulsating opening, although one that might have been suited to a full-length. Pelican soon put their rocking boots back on and the next couple of tracks are a mix of Pelican modern and old – ‘Lathe Biosas’ a groovier number that serves to provide one of Pelican’s best riffs yet, and ‘Parasite Colony’, which progresses into something that wouldn’t have sounded amiss on ‘Australasia‘. The other title track, ‘Taraxis’, close proceedings in slightly progressive fashion, acoustically building up with minimal percussion to gently guide the song along its course. As it draws to a close, the distortion kicks in and the initial sense of melody and calm morphs back into traditional territory.
No doubt Pelican are in slightly experimental mood here, and while there’s definitely nods to their past, their compass is pointing towards where perhaps their future direction lies. ‘Ataraxia/Taraxis‘ certainly has its high points, no less ‘Parasite Colony’s sludge boom. However, the tracks feel largely too short for them to spread into anything to make this truly worth shouting about. And for an ‘experiemental’ release, as I describe it, its not truly forward thinking. That said, there’s plenty encouragement for the next album, though I personally hope they spread their wings a little more.
Buy ‘Ataraxia/Taraxis‘ here
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