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The Fiery Furnaces 

EP (Rough Trade)

On one level, it's kind of absurd that the Fiery Furnaces, a brother-and-sister duo with only two albums to their name, are already releasing a collection of singles, B-sides, and other assorted ephemera. But in the warped world of this pair, where eight-minute songs pile as many disparate styles together as the clothing section of the local Goodwill, EP is a perfectly logical endeavor.

In fact, consider the mini-album -- which is still a hefty 10 songs long -- a Cliffs Notes version of the band's sound, one that compresses its lengthy opuses into bite-sized songs without losing the tunes' childlike sense of adventure. Singles "Tropical Ice-Land" and "Single Again" fizz with a catchy focus, but veer from whimsical synth collages to sputters of toy percussion; B-sides "Evergreen" and "Here Comes the Summer" add classic rock-guitar pomp and electropop stomp, respectively. The rest of EP's songs suffer from attention-deficit disorder when it comes to genre; "Duffer St. George," for example, is a mash-up of mad-scientist piano, grimy garage rock, U.K. psychedelic breeziness, and pastoral flute flutters. However, like a toddler's finger painting or the works of Jackson Pollock, EP is an entirely cohesive -- and thoroughly enjoyable -- mess.

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