The opening half of the EP is her best work yet. "Town Crier" can be filed alongside Holly Herndon's "Home" in a growing collection of heartbreak songs addressed to the state. Inspired by a trip to Iran, she sings, "Can't find out how many you are / And what you're ready to destroy / You gotta understand I'll make you fall," backed by a squiggly synth line and bristling ranks of percussion. "Tan" is even better, its booming, asymmetrical drum patterns echoing Lafawndah's resolve ("Keep trying to brush me off / I'm not giving up"). That is, until the whole thing slows to a crawl in the outro, her voice dropping to a husky whisper. It's a bizarre way to end a pop song.
Afterwards, the weaker "Crumb" feels like a climbdown. "Ally" salvages aimless verses with a killer chorus. The pipe melody that spars with Lafawndah's voice is particularly ear-catching. Its microtonal writhing might be the product of some centuries-old tradition, or maybe just Ableton's pitch-shift function.