Dallas Orbiter Magnesium Fireflies

Rarely has an EP left me so unsure if I've heard a hugely promising debut or just an incredibly well produced imitation of one. Dallas Orbiter's "low gravity noise pop" (their words, not mine) continually flops between upbeat, intense indie pop and irritating, effects-laden space rock. Magnesium Fireflies starts with the bass-heavy "Bed of Stars," bursting open like Monkeyhouse-era Dandy Warhols on a Spacemen 3 binge. "Arise" takes a slight psych-pop detour, but after its rare chorus hook, the album hardly ever finds its way back again. They hit another short-lived stride once they get past the disappointing "So Pretty," but then quickly turn geek-rock on "Molecules Kissing." While most of the EP shies away from sounding like an intergalactic 12 Rods, far too much still feels overproduced and underwritten, leaving us both mildly impressed and terribly frustrated. (Princess)