Darcy Malone & the Tangle, “Make Me Over” (Independent)

extended-300x267Now this is the way to do it: When your band is hot from a year of continuous gigging, you head into the studio and make a slam-bang, knock-you-over-the-head EP. The Tangle’s Still Life album last spring put the band’s diversity forward, but this disc is more focused: It’s celebratory rock ‘n’ roll from start to finish.

Not that they don’t work some different grooves into these four songs. “Time to Be Free” is full-tilt arena rock (the main riff keeps teasing “When the Levee Breaks”). “You’ll See” is funky, and the title track combines heavy riffage with a Latin break. “Never Wanna See You Alone” is the odd song out, with Christopher Boye’s only lead vocal here and chorus harmonies that hark back to ’60s sunshine pop. but lyrics that reference a slightly later era—there are mentions of Bowie, Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground’s “Sweet Jane.” I take it as a song about how your rock ’n’ roll heroes are always there in times of need.

All four tracks show the band at its most aggressive: Darcy Malone does some of her bluesiest wailing (the choruses of “Time to Be Free” get into serious roof-shaking territory); guitarist John Paul Carmody and saxophonist Jagon Eldridge both get chances to blast. I’m not usually a big fan of EPs—if you’ve got the stuff, it makes more sense to go for an album—but this one works as something live and immediate, a band feeling confident for good reason.