Haley Bonar Big Star

With her fourth album, Haley Bonar takes a skip and a jump away from her slowcore roots. After her muted 2006 record, Lure the Fox, Bonar stretches her sound out with 11 considerably more energetic and up-tempo tracks. The Minnesota-based songwriter recorded her first album at 17 and was picked up for her second by Low’s label, Chairkicker’s Union. With her fourth disc, Big Star, she tackles a mixture of folk- and country-inspired pop with a spring in her step and a wry smile on her face. The layered vocals and poppy arrangements make for a deliciously listenable album but the sanguine melodies belie a sense of longing and inner conflict that haunts many of the tracks. From the twinkly mellotron of "Arms a Harm” to the chugging country guitar of "Highway 16” to the soaring vocal chorus of "Big Star,” the disc speaks of a maturing, evolving songwriter with big star potential. (Afternoon)