[BIG-KID POP] It's a delicate balance we seek from our favorite bands: We want them, upon releasing new material, to take us somewhere familiar, but we don't want them to go where they've already taken us. The much-ballyhooed sophomore slump is usually chalked up to one or the other: A band grows in an unnatural direction or doesn't seem to grow at all.
Typhoon's A New Kind of House is an attempt to split the difference. More an addendum to last year's Hunger and Thirst (Typhoon's spiritual debut, if not its first disc) than a stand-alone release, the five-song disc gives nods to its predecessor on "The Honest Truth," which cribs lyrics from Hunger and Thirst's "Mouth of the Cave," and the ambitious centerpiece "Claws Pt. 1," the prequel to Hunger and Thirst's finest track. But the EP also branches out to new territory—lyrically and musically—on "Summer Home," which recalls Beirut and Paul Simon's Graceland while tapping into a brighter side of the Portland collective than anything attempted on the previous disc. Its cascading refrains of "It's how we start over" could themselves soundtrack the closing credits of the AMC series of your choice, but the band is wise not to linger on these joyful noises.
A New Kind of House ends on a pair of pretty, low-key downers, "Kitchen Tile" and "Firewood," both songs that linger on themes—growing up, disease, domesticity—that successfully tie the EP together as a self-contained work and prove Kyle Morton's smart, emotive lyricism doesn't need an orchestra behind it to stand out. The dual closers also perform the important service of toning down Typhoon's live shows, which had begun to run a strange risk: They were getting too epic. It's a good problem to have and, right now, Typhoon is one hell of a band to be.
SEE IT: Typhoon plays Doug Fir on Friday, April 8. $10 advance, $12 day of show. 21+.