The last time we heard from Vinz Clortho, the Milwaukee band (not the Ghostbusters character) had just released an unlikely/wonderful shoegaze cover of Sheryl Crow’s “If It Makes You Happy.” (For real: if you haven’t heard this dreamy, six-minute version of the 1996 song, change that NOW.) It was yet another unexpected move from a group that had already packed a career’s worth of unexpected moves into three short years.
That element of surprise continues with the pandemic-delayed release of the Fool’s Paradise II EP, a followup to Vinz Clortho’s first Fool’s EP from 2019. Fool’s I acted as an introduction to the Milwaukee supergroup (members hail from Calliope, Mortgage Freeman, Castle Thunder, Myles Coyne, and more); Fool’s II is a self-described “grab bag of B-sides that didn’t exactly fit the first EP’s vibe.”
Not that you can tell from the first song. Opener “Too Cool” is the most “on-brand” of the EP’s five tracks, falling nicely in Vinz Clortho’s “surreal roadhouse jukebox” wheelhouse, albeit with a slightly peppier pace. It’s also the song that most harkens back to the swirling psych of Calliope, a.k.a. the old band of frontman Vic Buell. Things get less predictable from there: “Nobody’s #1” stakes out a chilled-out tropical vibe, the previously released “Like A Ghost” flirts with dapper electro, and the hazy “Dilated Eyes” handily lives up to its name. Is the EP rounded out by the “If It Makes You Happy” cover? Yes it is.
“We definitely like to go on tangents,” Buell recently told the Shepherd Express. “We don’t want to necessarily corner ourselves in that realm.” No need to worry there. Before Vinz Clortho releases Fool’s Paradise II on August 21 (and celebrates with a live-streamed show via Cactus Club on August 30), listen to the EP below.