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How far has Pelican come since their Pelican and Australasia days? Listening through their latest EP, Ataraxia/Taraxis, it’s apparent they’ve come a very long way indeed. Oh, the Pelican you love is still there, they’ve just evolved into something more incredible.

Opening with “Ataraxia” is a brilliant move. The song is gorgeous and sounds unlike the aforementioned monolith of Australasia. There are subtle electronics in the background, acoustic flourishes and a single melody that is just serene. In contrast, “Lathe Biosas” is the complete opposite. It’s Pelican rawk in purest form. Streamlined to a concise four minutes and forty-six seconds, “Lathe Biosas” showcases the guitar powerhouses of Trevor de Brauw and Laurent Schroeder-Lebec as they duel it out in the final minutes.

“Parasite Colony” is a slow jam that lets drummer Larry Herweg shine as he pummels his kit and expertly accents with cymbal crashes. When bassist Bryan Herweg enters the fray and gels with the sonic guitar barrage, the song is just magic. Just as “Ataraxia” was a surprising opener, closer “Taraxis” pulls the rug out from under the listener once again by laying down a cerebral mind fuck that starts as an acoustic ditty with some countrified twang, treads trip-hop territory in the breakdown, and then roars back to life with one of the nastiest sounding riffs Pelican has ever laid to tape.

Eighteen minutes has passed and Ataraxia/Taraxis is over as you find yourself looking at Pelican with a newfound appreciation. If Ataraxia/Taraxis doesn’t get you excited for Pelican’s future then you might as well dust off those old LP’s now.

Ataraxia/Taraxis is out on April 10th through Southern Lord Records. Pre-order yours here.

Grade: A+

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