The Rosebuds, 'Life Like' (Merge)

Life Like
Critical Mass
Label: Merge

by Jon Young

Ivan Howard and Kelly Crisp trade the savvy dance-floor moves of last year's Night of the Furies for haunted guitar pop on their mesmerizing fourth album. Joined by Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) and Matt McCaughan (Portastatic), they use mopey melodies and nature imagery -- floods, dead foxes, elusive robins -- to evoke hearts near the breaking point. "We are desperate boys and girls," croons Howard on "In the Backyard"; and Crisp sighs, "If you don't love me now / I'll die from inside out," on "Another Way In." If you don't feel their pain, you're soulless.



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