The Ropes’ last album (last year’s excellent “What They Do For Fun.”) was number 15 on my year-end best-of list for good reason. The Ropes are a sharp duo from New York with the rare balance of hipster cool and pop-ready chops. As I have said before, if in the nineties you were a fan of artists like Garbage and Poe, this should be right up your alley. They are attracting a little, select mainstream attention, but they deserve more. Wisely, the duo (consisting of vocalist/bassist, Sharon Shy and multi-instrumentalist, Toppy) have decided to strike while the iron is hot and release a quick, nine-minute EP on the heels of their full-length triumph. “Be My Gun” is best if digested along with “What They Do For Fun.” If you are new to the band, it is recommended you listen to both collections to get a full range of their sonic scope. The reason I say this, is because the three songs on here show growth into newer, moodier territory. Shy’s lyrics have always been pleasurably on the dark side, but here, the music can be dark as well. Take for instance, the first of the EP’s three tracks, “Too Cool To Love.” She’s singing in her lowest register, backed by a thudding, simple but ominous drum march. (She sings, “I’m not too cool to live. / I’m not too cool to die. / I’m not too cool to dream. / I’m not too cool to cry./ But I’m too cool to love anyone.”) When she harmonizes with herself on the word “anyone,” it’s somewhat eerie. With her effectively cold vocal tone, Toppy’s drum-pounding and a nice helping of guitar fuzz, this sounds like something somewhere between a lost Raveonettes "Lust Lust Lust" cut and something Love and Rockets might have recorded around the same time as “So Alive.” “Kitty Get Down” is warmer, but still has a bit of a threatening sonic feel. As the title suggests, Shy is (on the most obvious level) singing to a cat to come down from a tree. It’s conventionally pop-driven for a moment, until the chorus, when the guitars burst in and she sings, “Right now. Right now. I’m gonna help this kitty get down.” Even when it picks up, Shy keeps her cool. She barely picks her range up above a deadpan approach. She doesn’t have to do anything fancy, either, because here the Ropes have effectively brought together eighties pop and nineties rock much better than many higher-profile groups. In the process, they make it seem so effortless. The EP closes with the title track. It’s in line with the more somber, earnest moments on “What They Do For Fun.” Over a melancholy, yet oddly bouncy guitar/bass line, Shy sings the highly quotable chorus of “I’m the bullet. Will you be my gun?” This is the strongest track here, partly because it’s so haunting. It gets more haunting with subsequent repeated listens. Her vocals echo and swirl in what is effectively a digitized round. It’s all brought to a head with a big layer of distorted, hard-edged guitar over everything before it somewhat abruptly ends. There’s unrest in this track on multiple levels. It’s complex and seems packed with layers of pain. If it catches you at the right moment, it can be quite stirring. The only thing wrong with the “Be My Gun” EP is that it isn’t longer. Three songs just aren’t enough. One can gather, though, that for a band on the rise, a constant flow of EPs spread out strategically after the release of an album, could boost them better than another full album released all at once. Either way, the Ropes are highly worth a listen!