Summer Hymns ain't no Fools

The 10-song EP, Value Series, Vol. I: Fools Gold, is no mere between-album filler for Athens' Summer Hymns. Instead, it finds the band in a psych-pop mood, radiating a melodic warmth more reminiscent of the Flaming Lips than the reflective Youngisms of last year's Clemency.

"While we were waiting for [Clemency] to come out, I wrote some other songs in a second batch," says lead singer Zach Gresham of the album's genesis.

Rather than obsess over songs, as they had for the proper album, the band used rough mixes if they featured an inspired take. This approach yields the loose, intimate feel of an after-hours hootenanny, with the country-inflected sextet ambling from bubbling keyboard pop (like Sparklehorse doing space-age bachelor-pad music) to shimmering Bacharach-derived stylings to Syd Barrett-inspired acid folk.

"It taught us that we don't necessarily have to record the songs 25 times to get a good version," says Gresham. "You get more of the freshness if the tape just happens to be rolling as the song's coming, and then you capture this moment."

The haunting pedal steel and mournful lope of "Behind That Locked Door" signals the band working about the margins of its sound. Album highlight "Capsized" pushes the group's rustic country crawl toward the bright, expansive soundscapes of psych and chamber pop.

"We wanted to show people what else we were up to besides the slick Nashville [Clemency]," Gresham explains. "We're working on an album now that's hopefully going to be out in the fall, and there's enough other stuff left over that we're hoping to put out a Value Series, Vol. II next year."

Summer Hymns plays the Earl Sat., June 12, 9:30 p.m. $7.