Hotless Drive

EP2

Hotless Drive
EP2
self-released

“Do you love when things are simple like this?” Reilly Musgrave asks on one of the most elaborate productions of his young career. It’s one of several moments of compelling dissonance on the Portland singer/songwriter’s second EP as Hotless Drive. A short year ago, on EP1, Musgrave let his lyric sheet carry the load over four-track, folk-punk backing. And because those lyrics crackled with believable doubts and regrets, it worked. But on the follow-up, the sounds get as much attention as the ideas. That song about simplicity, “Do U Love,” begins with a soothing, effects-laden major chord, an unexpectedly therapeutic foundation. “Wish You Were Here Tn” employs buoyant bass and chilly organ to create a blast of post-punk disco that smacks of early LCD Soundsystem. Pair this evolved attention to craft with the artist’s continued fascination with contradiction, and it becomes clear that Musgrave is operating on a different level now. Fires blaze by the water, god and the devil are one, cherished memories smart like paper cuts. “What do we do / When it all goes away?” Musgrave wonders, on the penultimate track, over some cheerful guitar strumming. If you’re looking for an answer to that question, look no further than EP2. What do we do? We work. We think. We grow.