Burning Airlines Identikit

Just when it sounded like J. Robbins's post-Jawbox musical life was taking a turn towards the more traditional, he throws another curveball. While the second album from this DC-area trio is not the experimental, dissonant, Gang of Four-influenced, minimalist post-punk of the last couple of Jawbox records, it's not the simple driving guitar rock of the first Burning Airlines disc either. It's actually a satisfying combination of the two sounds with a few new ingredients thrown into the mix, like the trembling vibraphone accents of "A Song With No Words," the lo-tech synth squelches on "Everything Here is New" or the knob-twiddling trickery of "Tastykake." All of which combines to make this one of the most interesting and original sounding records this year. If there's one thing I've come to expect from Robbins, it's the unexpected, and he never fails to disappoint. (DeSoto)