Innerpartysystem have changed much in the years since they released their critically acclaimed, self-titled debut. Innerpartysystem in 2008 were exciting, innovative and totally unique-sounding. Fast-forward to 2011, and they still sound like nobody else; but this should no longer be perceived as a compliment. Whereas 3 years ago, they sounded like The Prodigy scrapping with Nine Inch Nails, these days they seem to lack everything that made them exciting on their previous efforts.
The most noticeable thing about today's Innerpartysystem is that they no longer seem to incorporate any form of rock. Tracks such as 'Don't Stop' or 'Die Tonight, Live Forever' may have been driven along by synths and electronics, but there was still a rock template to the songs which made the band such an endearing prospect, both live and on record. However, on 'Never Be Content', the band appear to have totally cleansed themselves of any presence of heaviness, and that could help to explain why songs like 'And Together' seem to lack any real dynamism; they lack the punch that helped the band make waves in the first place.
Another detractor from the EP is its length. Clocking in at 36 minutes, with the shortest track being just under 5 minutes, this EP really suffers from its own length. Whereas long tracks hold no problem for more progressive bands such as Gojira or Opeth, who can keep an audience captivated for well over 10 minutes on a single track, it does not favour the boring synthesised tracks on here; any initial promise the tracks may have shown is lost as they are dragged out over 5 or 6 minutes.
The EP does show glimmers of promise, however brief they may be. 'American Trash', the lead single from the EP, builds up a wonderfully tense atmosphere, but is eventually let down by the lack of a killer chorus which would really have allowed the track to soar. The electro-soundscape created on 'Squid' is a stroke of brilliance which does not feel drawn out despite it being over 6 minutes long. But this streak of ingenuity does not appear often enough to redeem the EP, and it remains a largely boring and unrewarding listen.
Maybe I'm being too harsh on Innerpartysystem; perhaps if this was the debut release of a new band, the mistakes in it would be far more forgivable than they are here. But the fact is, that this EP fails to live up to anything Innerpartysystem have released before; the brilliance of 'The Download EP' and 'Innerpartysystem' has been reduced to almost nothing on this EP, and I can't help but pray that this is merely an experimental stage for the band rather than their new direction. Sounding unique is all well and good, but with releases like this it's easy to see why most bands prefer to stick to a tried and tested formula.