Struck by the success of their 2010 Zombie EP, The Devil Wears Prada have returned to the short format with another themed work. This time around it’s the Space EP, and it’s their signature heaviness reinvented and deepened; their most sophisticated release yet. From the first 45 seconds of astronaut radio chatter in opener “Planet A” to the swirling, definitive end of final track “Asteroid,” the band stick to their theme exceedingly well, recreating the vast expanse and boggling implications of space within the strict boundaries of six songs.
With the launch of (or rather, toward) “Planet A,” we experience profound curiosity and longing (“Mankind searched the universe/Curiosity can be a curse”), while “Alien” is the rager fans of old expect from this band. The song is threaded with the sound effects of a sci-fi mission (mechanical bleepings, artillery fire) without sounding too campy, and the lyrics are appropriately vicious and dark. This one shuts down all possibility of escape with chugging verses and racing choruses, finally stating, “Game over/We are done for.”
The EP moves in a more emotional direction with “Moongod,” a troubled, humbling display of worship for a divine being. Vocalist Mike Hranica cries, “Watch over me/Inspect my mistakes/Like a beacon, necessitate my regret.” The song transitions into the interlude of “Celestial Mechanics,” which is exactly what the title sounds like–more sci-fi sounds and chatter mixed with atmospheric guitars. A necessary breath, but world-building.
The EP’s first single, “Supernova,” is the clear anchor. The very tangible concerns in this one combined with the solid riffing hold down the loftier parts of the EP. The familiar, heart-wrenching question we all know repeats again and again: “Where will you go? Where will you be?/When you forever sleep, when you leave me.”
Though picking a favorite song from the Space EP may be difficult, picking a favorite moment is simple. When “Asteroid” slows to a crawl for Hranica’s talk-screaming, it’s a turn that will stop you dead in your tracks: “Think of best friends/Think of strangers/Think of lovers/Think of foes/Think of children/Think of family/Keep in mind that nothing stays.” The candid words build, chanting carries on in the background, and the standout vocals become more desperate. Sound is complexly layered until it all just ends.
The Devil Wears Prada’s newest release is contemplative, heavy, and well-crafted, lending to the very real sense of life and death. Surely, if the Zombie EP solidified the band’s domain on terra firma, the Space EP catapults them well past the stars.