Last year, singer-songwriter Beth Bombara released Abandon Ship, a tidy EP of mostly acoustic songs that paired understated sonics with her sweet, distinct voice. She returns with another six-song serving, this time recorded with her backing band, Robotic Foundation, which is comprised of Theodore multi-instrumentalist JJ Hamon on bass and his brother Kit on drums. (Let us pause to consider the poetic justice of a drummer named Kit.) With the help of producer Dan Mehrman, the trio emits a well-tempered slurry of electric energy, trigger-happy percussion and echoing atmospherics, which gives Bombara something substantive to push against. Much of the self-titled EP keeps the downtempo mood of the previous release, albeit with more ear-catching sounds: A punchy electric piano punctuates "Beautiful You," and the stutter-step beats and reverberating guitar notes make "Conversation" sound like a Modest Mouse 45 slowed down to 33 1/3. Things get a little more urgent with the frenetic and biting "Not the World," which mixes equal parts pop jangle and punky twang. Bombara brings the disc to a close with "Sorry," a culmination of the momentum and force of the preceding songs, as she unleashes a full-bodied dose of righteous indignation. Her singing and songwriting is comforting and confident (although not overpowering), but these recordings help take her out of the coffeehouse and into rock & roll's noisy, clangorous realm.
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