The lyrical wit and musical imagination of the Christian pop/rock quartet House of Heroes have earned them a loyal following over the past decade. Now independent and fan-funded after a long stint on Gotee Records, the band offer a glimpse of their next album with the release of Smoke. This six-song EP is in the worthy tradition of the band’s previous work, balancing garage rock ferocity with a firm grasp of melody and hooks. As on previous releases, House of Heroes prod at spiritual complacency and materialist contentment. “Bottle Rocket” (a raucous blues-rocker with a chant-along chorus) and “Wake Up Screaming” (a simmering midtempo tune with U2-eque overtones) rouse the spirit even as they decry moral decay. Especially potent is “The Worst Kind of Gods,” a blistering attack on the dark side of the human spirit. Intimations of grace light up the bittersweet “A Fire Only We Know” and the triumphant “Infinite.” Frontman Tim Skipper delivers these tunes with a combination of a wounded lover’s anguish and a street preacher’s fire.