Now That She's Gone

With songs this rich, who needs albums? Though only three tracks long, the Sexy Accident's Now That She's Gone teems with sonic and lyrical detail. It captures a fleeting, stunning portrait. And fleeting is the operative word because Camry Ivory — who joined seven months ago — will soon be the longest-tenured member besides founder Jesse Kates. (The Sexy Accident is slimming down a member to a quartet and unveiling a new rhythm section.)

The addition of Ivory's keyboards and background coos to Kates' local band fills out the pop tunes with more panache. Kates' lithe tenor narrates meaty stories preoccupied with heartbreak. Though it's the oldest trope in the songbook, Kates makes his heartache ballads distinct.

The title track — which recalls the new-wave soul of Graham Parker — finds Kates having trouble letting go, promising, My heart is broke, but it's gonna mend. The cinematic, nearly six-minute "In Heaven" captures the guilt and longing of an illicit affair between onetime best friends; and the punchy, sample-laden rave-up "Savage Love" is incited by a condom wrapper on a car seat.

It's a smart, catchy, fulfilling course, despite its appetizer size.

- Chris Parker, The Pitch

Kansas City pop-rock group the Sexy Accident's new EP is a self-contained world of cheating and leaving lovers, presented three ways. At the center is the high-drama version, the six-minute "In Heaven". She's going to marry someone else. They meet one last time, every breathless second filled with importance, at least in his mind. His thinking is no joke: "I'd even love his kids / ‘cause they're yours and his". The backing vocals tilt the song towards melodrama, even soap opera, as do the build-ups of guitar, which almost suggest a demonic ending. That ending makes the song feel, at least to me, like a true-crime drama of over-the-edge obsession, not as innocuous as it first seemed.

The first and title track, "Now That She's Gone", is the lighter, sweeter version of this. He misses her but, you know, he does yoga and exercises and keeps moving along. There's an upbeat tone, singer Jesse Kates singing, "now that she's gone" with a grin. It's hard to get a grasp on the exact story, perhaps because our narrator doesn't want to face all of the facts. "The story's not quite as simple as I try to make it out to be," he admits, "it's no fair to want from her / what she can't count on from me." From that line it seems like he may have been stringing her along, that her leaving wasn't a cold, heartless act. "My heart is broke / but it's gonna mend," he declares. But what about her heart?

The third song, "Savage Love", tells the same basic story from a sleazier angle. The sex that wasn't happening in the other songs is here, as the song starts, "I miss lusting after you / maybe more than I miss you." It's the catchiest song, though the spirit of the song isn't as light as its sound, even with crashing sound effects that make us feel like we're in a B movie. Camry Ivory's backing vocals almost poke fun at the song's narrator, in an observing-from-a-distance way, especially her bouncy echo of "car car car" after his lyric, uttered with a self-conscious sense of dirtiness, "I know monogamy is hard / but so was f___ing in your car." The song's title is both a reference to the syndicated newspaper column and a supposed philosophical statement: "savage love / is all there is." Is that true? The first two songs sure seem to disprove the notion.

- Dave Heaton, erasing clouds