Given that many bands in Japan will take years between releases, it’s excellent to see so many of the bands behind last year’s highlights returning to the studio so soon, and it’s especially great when there’s obvious, clear progression in evidence. Recorded in Brooklyn with Jonathan Kreinik (Le Tigre, !!!, The Rapture are all relevant elements of his CV here), Magnetica opens with the tense, minimal instrumental DNA, which builds gradually into a guitar slashing fury that simply drops away before it can climax. Busy Bee sees the trio in more familiar, propulsive territory to their 2012 Prescription EP/mini album, although vocals are again restricted to gothic backing wails, the guitar shrieking over the top with a voice of its own. (A Man Looks Into) the Hole is the first track to really use vocals, but it nevertheless pushes its own way forward. Where the songs off Prescription were all somewhere in their core straightforward, devastatingly effective punk rock songs, wrapped up in the sonic acoutrements of experimental music, here we find the ZZZ’s tackling the songwriting and arrangements from right out of leftfield, combining no wave and psychedelia in a disorientatingly structured way, partly reminiscent of 154-era Wire. Final track Drippin’ sees the group taking on Pop Group-style funk-punk noise, with call and response vocals interspersed with guitar that sound like it’s being played with a circular saw rather than anything so mundane as mere human fingers, and it’s a thrilling close to an EP that, while undeniably raw, is nonetheless immaculately pitched sonically and sees the band breaking free of punk rock restrictions and primed to blossom into yet more fascinating and exciting things.