To put it plainly: Three Sides, the debut EP from Chapel Hill duo Veelee, joins Wood Ear's The Hard Way and Bowerbirds' Danger at Sea as recent short, self-made Triangle debuts that are alarmingly, stop-what-you're-doing-and-memorize-this good. Though these three songs barely break seven minutes total, each of the two-minute-plus indie pop gems takes a smart, minor melody and couches it in a cloud of aloof cool. A simplified cross between Blonde Redhead's phonic allure and 764-Hero's minimal range, it's altogether irresistible.
Matthew Park and Ginger Wagg, who've dated and played as Veelee since last year, share and swap vocals here. Their plain but complementary voices appropriately take the lead. Park's guitar chases Wagg through "Pasture," for instance, his stunted Tom Verlaine patterns mimicking her melody until shifting keys for a brief instrumental break. A reflection on cutting some bit of lifestyle baggage loose, "Pasture" feels fresh with its purposefulness and contentment. Wagg's airy but thin voice is charming and collected. Similarly, "Not Getting Nowhere" spends its first 100 seconds drifting to a simple beat and a few chiming chords, allowing the pair's vocal antiphony—she gently trails his lines with one-word responses—to shoulder the work. Doing so, Park and Wagg sound at ease.
Wagg's beats are largely simple, shaker-tom-cymbal affairs. They're relaxed but persistent, even through the relatively fussy "Trampoline/ Deadbolt." The EP's closing cut (and third side), "Trampoline/ Deadbolt" illustrates the couple's escalating desire for isolation as they try to evade a neighbor's vexing voyeurism. Wagg and Park work both sides of the fence, first offering the perspective of the neighbors peering into the house before the couple slinks back behind the cover of privacy blinds. Still, they're together and comfortable, Wagg's sharp accents softly assisting the cooed harmonies and unison verses. In the end, they find their own resolution. Given the EP's home-recording origins, it's an appropriate, conclusive image.
Thing is, the quality of what they've done on Three Sides behind shuttered blinds and deadbolted doors makes quite the contrary demand: These two should be presenting these private affairs in many very public spaces soon.
Veelee plays Nightlight with Great White Jenkins, Hands and Knees, and Great Nostalgic Friday, May 8. The 9:30 p.m. show costs $5. The EP is free at shows and online (www.veeleemusic.com).