It would take a very inconsiderate soul to mention Iron Galaxy (a.k.a. Adam Hodgins) without referencing "Attention Seeker," his debut single from last year. The track offered a stellar cross of gooey noir chords and 808-dotted house, which unfolded diligently while passing through several movements in the course of the song's eight minutes. Despite a few spotted collaborations and remixes since, the Montreal-based house alchemist hasn't presented much in the way of new solo original material this year. As a result, his new EP, Things We Lost Along the Way, is more than just a new Iron Galaxy record. The four-track effort gives Hodgins the chance to further his production pedigree, and also represents an opportunity for him to clean house and move forward.
Hodgins leads off with two very different numbers. The bottomless free fall of impressive lead single "Giving You" gets the EP going properly, feeding off the cascading synth arpeggios that have become a recognizable component of his work. What's especially engaging about "Giving You" is the way Hodgins plays with the arrangement throughout the track. Minor-key, ominous synth choirs are first cut down by a distorted R&B vocal, and before long, a fluttering keyboard riff and droning organ take over. The two elements then continue to battle it out over a steady, tenacious beat. It's one of the most energetic and immediate cuts on the EP, something that's highlighted even more by Hodgins' decision to follow it up with the amusingly titled "The Attendant Army of Rats." The two songs are total opposites, with "The Attendant Army of Rats" perhaps being the most leisurely Iron Galaxy track to date. It finds Hodgins dialing back the tempo while relying on a skipping beat and blissful chords, the latter of which begins at a mumble but gradually transitions to a whistle with the aid of a crushed, indistinguishable vocal sample.
Beginning with "Dragging Your Feet," a tune that first gained airtime on Hodgins' SoundCloud around the same time as "Attention Seeker," Iron Galaxy noticeably shifts the EP's second half toward the dancefloor. The final cut, "Why We Haven't Left Yet," is particularly strong, as Hodgins takes advantage of every opportunity to shake things up, swapping BPMs on the fly while littering the tune with zig-zagging synth pulses, shrieking off-kilter embellishments, and alien sub-bass. It's a bold note to go out on; while the rest of the EP expands upon the elements that have previously made Iron Galaxy fun to watch, "Why We Haven't Left Yet" is cut from a noticeably darker, sinister, and more dancefloor-ready cloth than the headphone-friendly fare he's championed before. Apparently, Iron Galaxy has more than a few moods and sounds up his sleeve.