Blue Seeds The Blue Seeds

At their best, as represented by album opener "Barcelona,” Montreal’s the Blue Seeds sound like an indie Portishead with Brian Connelly helming the guitars: a fog of agitated strings with a plush layer underneath duelling guitars — one a country-noir baritone, the other its playful upper register foil — while Amélie Laflamme sings with trepidation above it all. The song is mysteriously beautiful and, on this EP anyway, the band’s masterpiece. Too bad the other four songs can’t quite achieve its musical feng shui. Nevertheless unconventional instrumentation keep the Blue Seeds from sounding ordinary on any of these tracks as instruments such as saws, metal shoe cutters, something called "crystals” and even an espresso machine make appearances. "A Quick Killing in Art,” despite a lofty title, is a deflated listening experience coming on the heels of "Barcelona,” but "Amphetamines and Coffee” (no doubt the song the rhythm section emptied the espresso machine on) and the Neko Case-styled "Black Birds” find the band hitting closer to its already benchmarked potential. As EPs go, this one does its job admirably by piquing the listener’s interest enough to want to pick up the full length when it comes out. (Sale Cabot)