In my notes on Headcage, I wrote “watery indie nostalgia for the Instagram generation—know what I mean?” I would have cleaned that thought up a little bit to say the least—I would never refer to anyone as “the Instagram generation”—but it did highlight a specific aesthetic on this EP. It’s a brand of nostalgia concocted from listless energy, a wandering jumble of drums, soothing, eyes-closed croons, sighs and elastic vocals that recall different influences at every turn—Andrew VanWyngarden, Beck, Isaac Brock, Avey Tare.
I probably would have kept “watery” to describe Headcage‘s psychedelia. The fragmented, dizzy beat in the title track matches the squelchy, trippy little video Dear released with the song in December. Water even crops up as a lyrical motif in the Modest Mouse-ish lyrics of “In The Middle (I Met You There),” in which the Drums’ Jonny Pierce sings that “The waves will keep on crashing in/Sometimes you lose, sometimes you win.”
Outside of the lyrics, “In The Middle (I Met You There)” features the stickiest, even Dilla-est beat on the EP. “Street Song” and “Around A Fountain” shift and dissolve into a pulsing psychedelia at home on Animal Collective tracks. Despite the EP’s sepia-toned emotions, Dear has a lot to look forward to—especially if his upcoming full-length, Beams, sounds like “Headcage.”