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IM Cover125As I noted when I first posted news of IMAGINARY MONSTERS, the new EP from THE BIRTHDAY MASSACRE – their 2010 full-length PINS & NEEDLES has not left my playlist since it’s release almost a year ago. Rated a in my official review, I should’ve given in a flat 5 – as it’s staying power has been immense. As more artists revisit the EP format to bridge gaps between albums, the prospect of new music from TBM quickly became an object of anticipation.

Released this week through Metropolis Records, ‘MONSTERS boasts three new tracks that play like a direct continuation of PINS & NEEDLES.

Forever manages to capture that synth-driven ’80’s vibe as a mid-tempo number that often brings to mind thatdarker MADONNA feel that often permeates Chibi’s vocal delivery. The guitars get a little more play on Burn Away, a track that plays noticeably heavier while retaining nearly the same tempo of the opener. By Left Behind we’re floating into the darkest territory of the three new songs amidst the slowest tempo. There’s something distinctly CURE-esque about the clean guitar lead that flows majestically behind the dominating beats. What we’re lacking is real rocker, which is where the band excels.

With five remixes packed in, the two standouts are different versions of the same song. ASSEMBLAGE 23 and COMBICHRIST both put different spins on Shallow Grave, a song that was perfect to begin with. The other three present versions of Pins & Needles, Pale, and Control that feel flat and slightly unfinished when held up to their original counterparts. They’re not bad by any means, but you can  pick out spots where they could’ve been better.

IMAGINARY MONSTERS is a welcome addition to THE BIRTHDAY MASSACRE’s growing discography, albeit one that will fail to satisfy all but the most dedicated of fans – and even they may be left hungry by this sonic snack.

Rating: 3/5 Stars

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