The Able Sea The Able Sea II

Austin, TX's the Able appear to be downplaying their ambitions by recycling album titles and cover photos for their sophomore effort. Their second self-titled record, which is thankfully identifiable by the II moniker, features a picture of what is assumingly an able sea, with just a few tiny waves to break up the blueness. And that pretty much sums up the album. Opener "Left Off" is fresh and exciting, with its Spiritualized-like, psychedelic wooziness, resplendent with saxophone and multi-layered vocals, and it sounds like The Able Sea II could be something special. Unfortunately, it settles into a sluggish groove where the songs meander along in an admittedly pleasant way, but it doesn't deliver on what the first couple of numbers promise. The woozy, chaotic clash of guitar and saxophone is replaced by uninspired, drawn-out solos that threaten to collapse under their weight, and even a satisfying amount of fuzz can't save them. Periodically, something different does come along to break up the sameness, such as the more upbeat "Clocks Stopped," but the Able Sea have obviously found themselves a comfortable niche and they have no plans of deviating from it. (Independent)