“Where’s the Devil at? / I wanna shake that hand / Congratulations baby / What a flawless scam,” Joaquin Pastor croons on “M.O.W.O,” the title track of the new EP from James Supercave. If Pastor sounds ready to make a deal, let the negotiations begin: They surely would make grand theater in the hands of Los Angeles’ favorite psych-pop contortionists.
The new four-song release, the follow-up to 2019’s “Alarm Will Sound” EP, finds the trio — Pastor, Patrick Logothetti and Andrés Villalobos — as far in left field (or outer space?) as they’ve ever been. In the case of “M.O.W.O.” (Money is the Only Way Out), that means carving out a big groove with wheezing, ’80s-styled synths and waxing realistic about the root of all evil. That the song devolves into a minute-plus outro of warped vocals and effects suggests obsession with wealth might not be good for one’s mental health.
“It’s Supercave’s nod to Wu-Tang’s ‘C.R.E.A.M.,’” Pastor says. “It’s a song about money and what you’ll do to get it. The mood is saddled in a down-tempo groove built to bump the speakers on your Cadillac. In equal doses, the tune glorifies and laments the reality that money’s the only way out.”
Besides the mocking “Poor George,” released as a single last fall, the EP’s other highlight is “Never Happened,” a tune on which James Supercave collaborated with the songwriting tandem of Ian Scott and Mark Jackson (Bishop Briggs, Dorothy).
“There are things I shove into the little black box in my heart,” Pastor says of the song. “They go in and they never come out. I think about what would have happened if I never put them there. That’s what this song is about.”
It’s a confessional, yes, but in James Supercave style, refracted through an alternate reality where a disorienting amorphousness has made it OK to stop making sense.
||| Stream: “M.O.W.O.” and “Never Happened”
||| Also: Stream “M.O.W.O.” in its entirety
||| Live: James Supercave plays May 2 at the Teragram Ballroom. Tickets.