Shout Out Louds, 'Work' (Merge)

Critical Mass
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by Larry Fitzmaurice

After honing their Cure impression on 2007's breakout Our Ill Wills, these heart-on-sleeve Swedes team up with indie crossover producer Phil Ek (the Shins, Modest Mouse, Fleet Foxes) for a third album of ably crafted sincerity. The band's pop fizz is mostly absent, but the '80s new-wave touches remain ("Walls," "Too Late, Too Slow"). Elsewhere, Ek lends Work a woodsy, early-R.E.M. feel, as "Show Me Something New" and "Candle Burned Out" ache with dolorous vocals and postadolescent lament.

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