Masters of the Hemisphere Maybe These Are the Breaks

Masters of the Hemisphere Maybe These Are the Breaks
Despite a string of stand-up records on the once highly touted Kindercore label, Masters of the Hemisphere remain one of the truly underrated indie pop acts of the late '90s/early '00s. Sure, they never wrote their If You're Feeling Sinister or When Your Heartstrings Break, but the band delivered some of the genre's catchiest toe-tappers, even if they never could fill a whole album with them. And while the reunited Athens, GA band may once again fail to reach that "classic" status with Maybe These Are the Breaks – their first album in nearly a decade – the group pack some serious gems this time out. As they proved with 2002's Protest a Dark Anniversary, Masters of the Hemisphere do it best when they mix just the right amount of melancholy with their pop-fuelled charm, such as on The Breaks' "Watch It Go Away" and "Eggshell." But like their albums of yore, this one never stays in one spot for long, jumping from synth-driven new wave ("The Follow Through") to blue-eyed reggae ("One More Time") to twanged-out country ("Half a Fool"). Of course, the group flub it up a few times along the way, but that's part of their charm: they take chances. And even if they don't always hit the mark, that adventurous spirit can go a long way in rock'n'roll, making this return a welcomed one. (Kindercore)