If there were some small worries that last year's self-titled third album from San Franciscan psych rockers Sic Alps had smoothed some of the rougher, rawer edges off the band's gnarled output, then this 12" release probably allays some of those fears. She's On Top has one foot firmly in either Sic Alps camp, sounding professional (Mike Donovan's band has always sounded like it's on the verge of collapse) but rediscovering a power and crunch that was posted missing for a lot of the mellow-but-still-rather-good Sic Alps record.

With fellow Bay Area stalwarts Thee Oh Sees delving into more and more deranged territory, and Ty Segall slowly becoming a more polished - but no less thrilling - prospect, Donovan and co might have felt like there was a decision to be made about where Sic Alps should head next, but this release may have just provided the answers. 'She's On Top' kicks things off with a burst of extremely tightly wound mod-ish pop, as Donovan yelps the title track in various forms across the three minutes the band can actually hold things together for. 'Carrie Jean' is altogether a more glammy affair and indeed recalls David Bowie's song with "Jean" in the title – whether that's intentional or not is up for debate, but there's definitely more than a hint of 70s Bowie lurking in there.

Best of the lot, though, is final track 'Biz Bag'; mixing heads-down unhinged riffing with melodic interludes it's an exhilarating burst of (DC) hardcore-worthy passion that also manages to throw in that rarely-seen thing of beauty (outside of the west coast psych scene anyway): the excellent guitar solo. In the past it might have turned into an almighty mess, but this is Sic Alps completely in the zone, aided by some great production that's captured the live zeal of the band.

It's all over in ten minutes, yet She's On Top feels like more than a stopgap release. Whether it's two fingers up to those who doubted the quality of the band's last record, or just the sound of an act who feel comfortable with where they are right now, there's little doubt that Sic Alps have plenty more to give just yet.