Blessed's first EP is a flawless debut

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      Blessed (Independent)

      Despite the religious implications of Blessed’s moniker—not to mention the cheery yellow artwork that adorns its self-titled debut EP—the outfit’s musical tendencies are much stormier than appearances would suggest.

      The four tracks that make up Blessed clock in at more than 20 minutes in total, and they’re a dynamic journey though knotty guitar figures and structural twists and turns. The Abbotsford combo’s members hail from projects like Oh No! Yoko and GSTS!, and their influences range from spiky postpunk to intricately wrought math rock. There’s a hint of hardcore fury in “Cop”, when frontman Drew Riekman displays an impressively gravelly yowl as his vocal line suddenly leaps up a full octave.

      This scream is one of many sudden shifts on Blessed. The four-piece is clearly more interested in keeping listeners on their toes than settling into a groove, and riffs typically only last a few bars before morphing and deconstructing. Still, for all of their complexity, the arrangements never feel self-indulgent or unnecessarily obtuse, making this a satisfyingly jam-packed introductory EP.