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(Twisted Nerve)

After hearing a debut by this group and being intrigued but not overly impressed, I was again again introduced to this, their newest release by a friend of mine and was duly impressed. Although it wasn't anthing that I hadn't heard before, the group had pulled together bits of rock and pop and electronic music in a way that pricked up my ears and made me want to hear more. After sitting with the album now for some time, about half of the tracks stick with me a great deal while the others feel like they're treading some of the same musical ground that I've heard before from so many others. There are rocking moments, quietly beautiful moments, and parts that as a musician wish I would have thought of myself.

The release opens with hyper-compressed blasts of guitar, organ, and drums on "Odessa Steps" before setting down into a nicely-working interplay between the instruments, lapsing back into the rock workouts for moments of emphasis. It's on "Swollen And Sag" that the group really starts clicking, though. With a guitar melody that sticks in my head for hours after I've heard it and fluttering drums that rain down and provide a perfect backdrop, the first half of the track drifts and builds beautifully before the whole thing shifts gears into a more electronic second half with treated vocals and programmed drums that reminds one of The Notwist.

After "Building A New" falls back into more of a typical post/kraut rock structure, "Horses" again adds vocals in a lovely way, again pairing them with a pretty guitar melody and some subtle drumming and other small atmospherics. "If Not Now Then When" blends just about all of the above, merging horns with programmed beats, acoustic guitar melodies, and general electronic tweaking. "Part One" does much of the same, taking what's great about the group and mixing them with a slight amount of tweaking for great effect.

Unfortunately, the bottom half of the album is a slight bit more hit-or-miss. "Part Two" and "Part Three" fall back onto more middling melodies and are much less inventive sonically while "Wondrous Thing" sounds something like a narcotic Beta Band track. Even with a slightly lackluster closing, the album is still way beyond anything the group has ever done before. If you're a fan of Fridge, or other slightly electronic-tinged groups, you'd probably find much to enjoy on this disc.

Rating: 7.5