(Sludge Country Records) Following the 2017 sophomore release Two Songs, which was written with founding drummer Garrett Burke prior to his departure for rising act Mothers, Fit Pitcher represents a new chapter as frontman Cole Monroe expands Art Contest into a four-piece. Through the addition of keyboards and more prevalent vocals, the math rock act enters a brighter, more accessible territory where its technical wizardry can shine through avant-pop melodies. Opening track “A Large, White Vase” establishes the fragility and impact of so many precisely interlocking sounds, while the title track quickly follows to establish the album’s overarching sense of urgency. Jarring rhythms and disjointed riffs like those of “Small Fortune” and “Not Just Dancing” can feel physically uncomfortable at times but succeed in jerking you around as math rock tends to do. “Fiery Hand” is a catchy electro-pop scorcher with beautiful, sweeping interludes, and “Brain Option” similarly races under the helm of frenetic vocals before transcending into intricate guitar lines. Altogether, Fit Pitcher is a feverish, dense album that deserves full attention.
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