The newest record from Melbourne’s The Removalists proves my theory that EPs are the most interesting releases every year. Yes, there’s no doubt about it. It primarily has to do with record length. Where LPs often wander, or lose steam, an EP can hit you with a short string of combination punches. In this case, the knockout blow is delivered with four swift swings, from off the cheekily entitled, “Semi-Professional EP”, hinting at the garage quality of the work. But it’s more than some lo-fi dabbling. These four tiny bursts are like little diamonds — tight, angular, casting of light at each turn. The music is fueled by a great sense of pop-rock guitar melody. The reverberations on the strings are allowed to play out, floating off into the air. It’s cerebral in some ways, with lyrics that are more quick snippets than anything wholly narrative. Try out the best track on the album, “Better With Age”, a rollicking, rhythm-driven pleasure featuring one of the best guitar riff closes you’ll likely hear this year. I don’t get to write this very much, but there’s usually one or two times a year where I listen to a record and immediately sense an artist gifted past measurement. (I thought this when I heard mmpsuf’s “Retina” last year, and when I listen to Kissed Her Little Sister, or when I first heard La Femme’s 2010 EP “Le Podium #1”.) Just to be sure, I even went back and listened to The Removalists’ 2012 EP, “Local News”, and heard a wonder-work entitled “Local Newsreader” — a song with a highly complex arrangement, gorgeous lyricism, carried by unexpected melodies and harmonies. It’s genius. And frankly, so is “Semi-Professional” — my favorite record of this early new year. Follow The Removalists at facebook. — David D. Robbins Jr.