Es Fantasy EP

This is only the third release in seven years by ES from London, but in under an hour’s worth of music (to date), they’ve hit that sweet spot where a band establishes a singular and identifiable sound, but switches it up enough from record to record so things are retread-free. That sound, in short, stacks up spartan, rickety, vaguely creepy keyboards, doomsaying vocals, and a punchy post-punk rhythm section with no guitars in sight. It was a smash on 2016’s Object Relations and 2020’s Less of Everything, and so it is on the four-song Fantasy, but on the whole it’s a bit less goth and a bit more synth pop (“Too Late” especially), even if ES provides pretty screwed versions of both. The bass/drums-led “Swallowed Whole” runs at an almost anarcho-ish canter, too, which is what I mean about nice surprises each time.