Nice Life

Nice Life
Lunch In Le Mans
AKYM? Tapes/Blade Records

Gone are the days of EPs being the lesser cousin of the LP. Those seven inches of vinyl, so friendly to punk bands and B-sides, are now a hypothetical limit — in 2018, the decision to release a short blast of music is a purely artistic one. And some of this year’s best releases have been purposefully, exhilaratingly short. Like Kanye West’s underrated “Wyoming Tapes.” Or Philly rapper Tierra Whack’s 15-track, 15-minute masterpiece Whack World. Or Portland indie trio Nice Life, who drop their second shorty of the year, Lunch In Le Mans, on Oct. 12. Brimming with playful, intricate guitar lines and earnest post-punk vocals, the four-track release continues the momentum created on June’s Gonna Let That Bear Trap Be. Once again, the best track here is an instrumental. “Stop ‘N’ Mart” gives guitarist Cory McWilliams the showcase his exuberant playing deserves — his riffs are sunny, percussive note clusters, as indebted to Afropop as to Stephen Malkmus. The trio continues to flavor their more traditional rock tunes with evocative twists and turns, like Dominic Grosso’s fuzzed-out bass solo in “Afternoon in Restigné,” or a bridge full of stops and starts that turns “Soft Magnolia” into an indie-rock obstacle course. And then, just like that, it’s finished. With appetizers like this, who needs entrées?

— Joe Sweeney

Nice Life plays Portland House of Music on Oct. 18.