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The atmospheric qualities remain on Lungs, Casual Curious’ follow-up to its self-titled debut, but so much else has changed in the band’s dynamic that it hardly feels like the same project. As the band’s only constant, architect T. Lee Gunselman has shifted his focus from glitchy programming to fleshing out some of the lyrical ideas he presented the first time around in a dancefloor-driven context. Much of the repetition of the debut has been replaced with subdued pop hooks and synths that radiate warmth, and whereas the first album felt like the product of a single person much of the time, Lungs grooves like a full-band effort. The EP’s opener “GGYM.” introduces the retooled quintet with fluttering abstractness, and then glowing melodies merge with drummer Hunter Allen’s boom-bap, skittering guitar and waves of sax into a sound that would fit snugly between Talking Heads’ True Stories and Naked. Walter Fancourt’s wind playing has the tendency to steal the moment, most notably on the Abilified jam “Remote Control” in which he shatters the song’s sublime marriage of Dam-Funk synths and casual Hall & Oates funk. Hints of the project’s art-rock past reveal themselves in “Without Your Love” when the EP’s adamant groove disappears during the song’s shoegaze-y oratory, but as the closer “Rock My Boat” insists, this is a dance record at heart.
Casual Curious will perform with Burn Doordoordoor and the Old One-Two at Artistika on Dec. 12.