Little Star Even in Dreams (Good Cheer)

[STEADY PROPULSION] Over just two years and two albums, Little Star have earned local and national praise for their tender and wobbly approach to post-punk. Seasick guitars and propulsive jazz drums barreled ahead, while singer and guitarist Daniel Byers' subdued warble followed closely behind. But on the first half of their new EP, Even in Dreams, the band makes a concerted effort at letting their New Wave influences build the mood. On opener "Providence," Byers employs spot-on impersonation of Morrissey, offering a pointed observation about the track's steady krautrock beat: "I recognize repetition/I don't do it better/I don't do it different." The title track that follows is an off-key post-punk ballad that welds part of the Cure's "Pictures of You" to an even more deliberate drum pattern. The metronomic nature of the EP is due to Byers having written the record solo while bassist Julian Morris was out of town (founding drummer John Value left the group last year), but very little of the reckless charm that propelled Little Star's previous work is lost in the process. Closing with a minute-long piano tune called "Waltz," Even in Dreams could've functioned as a single built around the first two tracks. But Little Star's growing fanbase will be delighted to see a steadier side to Beyers' frenetic songwriting nonetheless.

SEE IT: Little Star plays Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water Ave., with Wave Action and Sweeping Exits, on Saturday, Feb. 3. 9:30 pm. $10. 21+. Get tickets here.