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Geoff Barrow is never lacking for projects, and with BEAK><KAEB, his experimental rock trio debuts its alter ego. The distinction between these personas -- as well as the project's overall evolution -- becomes clear over the course of the EP's four songs. BEAK>'s half reveals a more streamlined approach than the densely packed excursions they took on 2012's >>: At just three-and-a-half minutes long, "The Meader" ends at the point when many of the band's songs are just warming up, and the looser, simpler instrumentation lends a newfound openness to their music. Yet it also honors their past, with hypnotically simple riffs and beats coated in a murky mystique that spills over to its slurred vocals and song title. Meanwhile, "Broken Window" focuses on the band's flair for eerie synths, this time pairing them with a not-quite danceable beat that falls in and out teasingly. Indeed, both of BEAK>'s tracks feel like preludes to Barrow and company conceived of BEAK>'s impressions into more easily understood emotional territory. "When We Fall" translates the strange wistfulness of songs like >>'s "Eggdog" into a piece of pastoral melancholia reminiscent of Bibio or Junip; while it's not as strikingly unique as some of the band's previous work, it's a lovely justification of Jonwayne, whose hallucinatory flow ("I feel the breath of Cerebus dilate my pupils") is a perfect fit for his darkly drifting surroundings. Despite its brevity, BEAK>

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