with a three year gap between this fourth album and their last record, this Portland, Ore.,
band remains relatively steady. Guitarist Hutch Harris still yelps indignantly
about his problems and the world’s, and bassist Kathy Foster still doubles on
skins as they now seek their seventh drummer (any takers out there?).
2006’s The Blood, The Body, The Machine took the ambitious path of telling the story of a band on the run (from
Christian fundamentalists), here they chronicle more individualized tales of
despair (“I Let It Go”), illness (“We Were Sick”),
mortality (the opener “When I Died,” the raging “When We Were
Alive”) and loneliness (“How We Fade”). Weepy they ain’t though
– they’re also defiant (the sing-along title track), rarely at a loss for tunes
(the spooky Chills-like pop of “Bottom of the Sea”) and rarely
down-tempo in the songs. All they need is a convincing post-Bush theme to rally
their songs around.
Standout Tracks: “Now We Can See,” “When We Were Alive” JASON GROSS