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Ambient rock group Tycho just released a surprise, chill new album

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Look, it’s been a crazy week. You started out watching Donald Trump yell for 90 minutes, and now it’s Friday, and you’re ready to take a break. Well, good news: ambient rock project Tycho just released a surprise new album, and it’s super chill.

It’s called Epoch, and it’s Tycho’s first release since 2014’s Awake. And initially it sounds very similar to the previous album. It’s a sort of soft, indie-rock-meets-electronic vibe, one that will be familiar if you’ve heard anything from Tycho before. Epoch really eases you in with songs like “Glider” and “Horizon,” which both sound like a prototypical Tycho tune; supremely relaxed but with enough layers to make them feel like much more than just background music.

The album takes a slight detour after that. Mostly it’s about mixing up the style a bit. “Slack,” for instance, has a much rockier sound, whereas as the thumping beats of “Receiver” and “Epoch” give them more of a typical electronic vibe. It’s the rare instance where you might actually catch yourself nodding your head to a Tycho track. This trend continues through the rest of the 10-track album. Some songs have a harder edge, others a bit more wobbly and space-y.

Despite these shifts though, every track on Epoch manages to fit snugly into that weird little space Tycho has carved out. It’s ambient and relaxing, the kind of album you might put on while doing other things, yet deep enough that you’ll want to listen closely. It even looks like a Tycho album, with a beautifully minimalist cover featuring a black monolith against a stark red background, white sun rising in the sky. (Project lead Scott Hansen doubles as a graphic designer.)

For fans, Epoch marks a subtle but satisfying evolution of Tycho’s work. For everyone else, it makes Friday a little more bearable.