The Books, 'The Way Out' (Temporary Residence)

7
The Way Out
Critical Mass
Label: Temporary Residence

by Mike Powell

Five years since their last full-length and the Books' sparkling, folksy collages haven't changed much: Nick Zammuto and Paul de Jong still mince their acoustic instruments with laptops, still borrow vocals from thrift-store finds (here, self-help tapes), and still burst with nonthreatening wonder ("Beautiful People" is a light disco hymn about irrational numbers). After three consistent, unique albums, the duo only flag when they abandon their sense of humor and mischief -- which is what made them so smart in the first place.

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