Lotus’ self-titled fourth studio album features the band painting with bigger, broader brushes to create their musical vision.  There’s a signature sound in place, the result of a decade’s worth of evolution in both band and equipment, but many of the intricacies that defined the band’s sound have been shaped into grander melodic ideas.  The album’s more engaging moments are quite triumphant.  “Orchids” features intense instrumental work from the whole quartet, with dramatic strings that ride pleasantly along a snappy rhythm and moody chord progression.  “Bush Pilot” is a happy marriage of horns, hyped vocals and the band’s typically hard-hitting, funk-tinged pulse, which is also in clear view on the dynamic “Molluskunk.”  An ethnic drive and epic melody makes “In an Outline” fall somewhere between David Byrne and Tortoise, and the tricky time signatures of “Evergreenary” are where the band finds the happiest medium between dashing electronic music and sophisticated musicianship.

There are moments where the band moves too far into the realm of electronic music and forsakes their more distinguishable style.  In the process, they fade into an ever-growing crowd of artists doing the same thing.  The wobbling throb and overblown synths of “Dowrn” and “Backlight Sunflare” lack the band’s original touch and stick out uncomfortably among some otherwise listenable tracks.  Things don’t go much better during “The Surf,” a foray into synth-pop that proves highly skippable, or the rather dull “Harps,” which is glitchy to the point of annoyance.  Ultimately, though, there’s nothing definitive about this album.  Lotus has a limitless vision as far as what can be accomplished in the beat-heavy realm they occupy, and this self-titled record is merely another piece of the never-ending process.

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