The Synchromy EP is the second in a series of exquisitely-packaged releases from the always-caring Hometapes record label. Housed in an amazing embossed fancy-paper sleeve with bright pink and black print, it's one of those releases that makes you happy that people haven't gone fully digital yet. The follow-up to their Absolute Noon EP, the release is another blast of their stunningly-honed post rock / jazz instrumental workouts.
While that debut EP was big on substance and production (recorded in Chicago at SOMA studios with John McEntire of Tortoise), this second EP finds the trio letting loin ose a little bit more and gaining ground because of it. Whereas the first release seemed more enamored with simply creating beautiful sounds, this newest slab of twenty minutes not only pops out some inventive melodies, but some gloriously damaged moments as well.
"Skara Brain" opens the disc, and in only four minutes the group is all over the place, veering from heady ambient bits to funky post rock and finally some retro-inspired proggy rock. "Tone Poem" is even more frantic, spitting out bursts of crusty analogue synths and noise over a fairly standard beat while guitar strings snap and pop and dysfunction threatens to overtake the entire song.
If the first three tracks on the short release seem to be more about the group screwing around, then "Ap(parenthe)synthesis" might be their finest moment as buzzy synths and a driving rhythm push things into some sort of space-ace kraut rock world as the group actually keeps a groove flowing for a solid period of time while limiting the studio trickery in favor of the beat. Of course, "Mint Cairo" closes the short (just under twenty minutes) release down in more schizo fashion, with bubbly synth rock that morphs into orchestral lounge. While it's definitely a step up from their debut, at some point it seems like the trio is going to have to refine things just a bit unless they're planning on continuing their scatterbrained ways from here out. That sort of thing is fun for a short trip, but on the long haul there's not a lot to really sink your teeth into.