ROAR – I’m Not Here To Make Friends

3 out of 5

Label: Really Records

Produced by: Nick Krill (engineered by)

Individually some great tracks, but rather uneven when pieced together as an EP.

ROAR’s fuzzy, twee-pop exists in a sparkly world of its own, friendly to fans of tweaked stuff like Starlight Mints or shiny glimmery groups like The Shins, but uniquely balanced between predictable (and incredibly catchy) hooks and sudden flourishes or twists in the bridges that take a song in a fun and unexpected direction; the lyrics are accessible but engaging, jumping back and forth between clever sarcastics and heart-warming (or -breaking) declarations. It’s the kind of stuff that, at a glance, I’d assume I’d dislike, but these nuances on the happy, poppy sound up the ante on the game immensely.

Each track on this 4-song EP meets all, or most, marks, but it also feels like four separate songs. Opener Chinese Tattoo is short and sweet, almost to a fault – it’s missing another round of chorus and verse, which could totally work as an intro to an album, but instead, we head right in to the slow build of Flightless Bird, a gorgeous and moving track with a great, breakout bit of distortion… and incredibly odd as a followup to that brief kickoff song. Poor Grammar starts the process over again, going light and poppy, and then it’s back to an epic closer, with The Comfort of a Laugh Track.

It’s a weird experience, with each song being, essentially, a winner, and indicative of ROAR’s skills, but when put together, the flow is choppy, and un-immersive. Certainly worth owning, but due to this sequencing, the tracks tend not to get stuck in my head as much as some of ROAR’s others.

(Note: I’m listening to this digitally. Taking into account that it was also a 7″, the split between tracks definitely makes more sense, and would probably bump the rating up a star.)