After stumbling across a previously, ahem, filed, email for Kobayashi Maru, the latest EP from Toronto outfit The Natural Shocks, I’d already planned to post something on it, but the wallop mother nature has delivered over the last 24 hours makes posting on a band with such a name a tad eerie. So here’s hoping any and everyone who reads the hill from places that were in Sandy’s path are a-ok today, and perhaps this 4-song effort from Jim DeLuca & Co. can help pass the time for those stuck inside for a while.

I was pretty sure we’d covered the Shocks before, but I was under the impression they were a band that specialized in rather sunny pop tunes. This time out they seem to be more a product of DeLuca’s individual toil, with help from some friends. The sound is more sparse and seemingly influenced by dancefloor-friendly electro-pop. But there’s a tension in the songs, an uncertainty, and that might help to explain the brooding cover art and the Star Trek-referencing title which indicates a no-win situation for someone (so I hear, I have almost no Star Trek knowledge and had to look it up).

One thing hasn’t changed, The Natural Shocks are still producing some catchy songs, this time out using electronic drums and angular power-pop riffs as the base for this all-to-brief EP. Whether you’re familiar with the band’s earlier work of not, this is an interesting, well-produced EP that’s worth a listen.