Crystal Antlers’ latest album, Two-Way Mirror, doesn’t move too far from their noisy debut, Tentacles. Unfortunately, without the Internet buzz around the band this time, the album makes for a drag of a listen.
Their sloppiness that once was endearing no longer sounds effortless. Lead singer Jonny Bell’s yelps and raspy vocals that litter songs, such as “By The Sawkill,” are put to too little use except to provide shock value.
However, the album is saved once the band parses down the songs and lets down the angry facade. On “Fortune Telling,” there’s a Pavement-esque slow build-up on a fuzzy, clashing melody, as Bell mopes that “I’m falling out of the doorway without trying.” The last track, “Dog Days” also captures the bittersweet feelings of getting older and none the wiser under a relatively gentle backing.
Those few glimmers of a fresh sound signal that Crystal Antlers may know exactly what to do once their label as a blog sensation permanently wears off.