Field Register Tire & Caster

While this Montreal band’s last album was a gorgeous piece of slow burning melancholy, this effort is cut from an entirely different piece of cloth. Here, they amp up the guitars, drums and volume, and while it may sound entirely different, the ear for melody and composition has not changed. The shift in sound is best illustrated in the excellent "Fair Grounds,” which starts out quite hushed until a dissonant guitar rips through and turns the song on its head. With the guitars’ insistent prodding and teasing the song pushes forward, drawing the listener in until it hits the emotional climax in a blaze of unabashed rock. Another highlight has to be the catchy "Ceramic,” which bursts out of the gate with shakers, pounding drums and a newly acquired confidence. The only problem with this makeover is that it’s going to be harder for the Field Register to make a name for themselves, as this type of upbeat indie is well-trod territory. While this album has a higher-than-usual quality to it, that spark of got-to-hear-it seems to be slightly absent. But, from the quality of the songs here, it is only a short amount of time until that happens. (Ships at Night)