Extra Life is an appropriate moniker for this Brooklyn quintet. The band's avant-garde, post-everything indie rock is chilling, unsettling and beautiful — the kind of music one might expect to hear when floating around in purgatory. 2008's Secular Works showcases the band's dramatic instrumentation and minimalist compositional approach. Violin and saxophone are integral, and a song such as "Blackmail Blues" successfully uses musical alliterations to a hypnotic degree, like Shellac covering Philip Glass. Meanwhile, album standout "I Don't See It That Way" disrupts its repetitive lull with incomprehensibly tight guitar stabs. The group's sparse arrangements allow the spotlight to shine on frontman Charlie Looker's operatic delivery and theatrical melodies, not unlike the vocal technique recently employed by buzzmakers Pattern is Movement and the Dirty Projectors.
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