I Will Work the Land

As a member of fawned-over London math-rock crew Meet Me in St. Louis, vocalist Toby Hayes exhibited a pronounced range of emotion that few vocalists of that technically draining subgenre are able to touch. His newest project, coming on the heels of the dissolution of his other venture, Shoes and Socks Off, is Eugene Quell, a grungy, melodic garage project with Hayes as maestro. The four-song I Will Work the Land is the third of a trio of spectrum-spanning, lo-fi gems, and vacillates in greater extremes than his previous two. On “London Pollen,” Hayes sleepily croons over sparse percussion and a lullaby guitar run before dueling fuzz leads cut through the trance. “Song for Marla & Lucas” is the best kind of slacker-rock—melodic, explosive and infinitely hummable. “Soft Coin” follows in an upbeat pop-punk milieu à la Bob Mould before the demure closer “RRW” ends the EP with a plaintive acoustic ditty that has Hayes stripping away his buzzsaw visage in favor of a folksy sweetness. Highly recommended.