Don't keep birds in a pen. Waste of time. Like herding cats. They'll just fly out of a pen. Unless they're emus. But who keeps emus? Wittering aside, first track 'Breaking Precedent' sounds a lot like Interpol. An awful lot like 'em. Someone probably will (not) sue, but it's good none the less. It has that slightly quivered moody vocal, and the dark guitars. It also bears hints of the National, speckled over its feathers.
'Machines Live Like Ordinary People' changes the mood. Industrial beats come in, and in a clever 'look at us we're referencing the title in the style of music' (or vice versa) way heavy synths whizz in the chorus. Sci fi doom hangs over your head. It's a bit pompous, and a little bit silly.
The seriousness returns on 'Man The Thinker', which has a rolling piano and sound effects rolling over the top. Once it gets going it has a vague funky feel, incongruous like someone in rainbow tie dye watching Editors, but it just about works. 'Implode And Fold' has a kind of lazy majesty about it, a gentle strut in its strumming, piano and whirrs.
It now comes time to make a pun about setting these birds free. But we won't (or we just did) and leave it that this EP makes promises of gradeur, and largely keeps them, bar stupid tracks about machines. Its beautifully mellow indie, like Elbow, but Elbow if they forgot to take their prozac, or saw a puppy get run over.