This release is weakest when it puts forth the kind of earnest indie rock that could be greatly improved by the toning down of excess cleverness and quirkiness, and strongest when it is focused on instrumental depth and restrained emotion; while the band has a gift for musical composition, most of the songs on this album display a kind of mock-sincerity that quickly becomes grating.
Specifically, it’s difficult to tell if the musicians are expressing their true personalities, or are simply not yet clear how to do so through their music; there is a manner of heavy-heartedness to the lyrical delivery that does not seem backed up by any serious feeling, and the songs are so scattershot that they never keep the listener’s attention for long.
In terms of form, the band works together best when they play guitar, bass, and drums, or at the very least incorporate warm instrumentation – the best track here, “Expansive Feeling,” is essentially the repetition of single notes, but the timbre of the sound is warm and well-made. The use of percussion on a songs such as “Lullaby” and “Rachel” is also interesting.
When electronics and vocal effects are brought out on a piece like “Hands in Pockets,” “Sacred Chime,” or “Rare Beast,” however, the music unravels into a thin and derivative sound that doesn’t sustain itself.
These comments aren’t meant to say that the band is not good, or isn’t capable of making something very interesting, but I don’t think they’ve achieved that here.