Welcome to the wonderful, sometimes messy identity crisis of Mystic Folk Opera. The Portland foursome started as a li’l songwriting duo, just Kristin DiCara and Nathan McClellan needing a outlet for their craft. Don’t be misled by the “folk” origins though; if their latest EP “Deep Cuts — Plastic Skin” is any indication, the added firepower of a feisty rhythm section has permanently launched the project into new genre territory, a strange land where Lindsey Buckingham and Pat Benatar regularly high-five.

“Gypsy Sun” features a hot little drum-kit background, with Rich Cantz adding spice and energy to the EP’s opener. “Buried” mixes tense rock riffs with a funky Robert Mills bass line. Showing balladry chops, a sweet piece of acoustic songwriting called “Woman, the Sky Knows Why” closes the collection in relative quiet.

If there’s a complaint to be lodged, it would be directed towards the vocals on DCPS, which not only occasionally remind of gasket-blowing Meatloaf wailing, but also too often sound heavy and overwrought, as though the only way to sing was soaked in buckets of ’80s reverb and delay. For the sake of the beautiful densely-woven instrumental arranging on the EP, it would be exciting to hear the vocals reigned in, and given the same careful mechanical function as the band’s other sound-makers.

Mike Olcott is a freelance writer who lives in Portland and Boston