Microphones The Glow, Pt. 2

Head Microphone Phil Elvrum and his tight-knit coterie just keep refining the model set on his early self-released Know-Yr-Own bedroom tapes and debut K album, Don't Wake Me Up. Ever since the Window mini-album came out on YoYo a few years back, Elvrum and crew have been consistently one-upping themselves, as far as setting new standards for setting up recording situations wherein the balancing act between crystalline/ mechanical/ modern/ digital means and frail/ faulty/ serendipitous/ human ends is made to seem staggeringly natural. All previously exaggerated homages to their late Moncton predecessors out on Stereo Mountain have at this point been subsumed by the development of a sound that's genuinely Microphones, even though this sound's mongrel roots do occasionally surface, as on The Glow, Pt. 2's title track, where a sudden burst of fuzzy guitar pummel accompanied by Karl Blau's trademark wild man drum mode jump-cuts to Phil vocally affectation hopping from Isaac Brock-y lisp-warble to Jeff Mangum-like nasal belting far more effortlessly than one would assume. That having been said, this album is the perfect complement to their last full-length, It Was Hot, We Stayed In The Water, not only in continuing the trend towards more explicitly embracing and making their own the thematic leanings of the dreaded concept record, but also in terms of sharing with that record a comfortingly substantial quality. This is the kind of record where the cliché of "hearing new things in it every time you listen" actually rings true, the sort of album that's as equal a soundtrack to frolicking giddily through a forest like a know it all dumb-ass as it is to speeding apprehensively down a dark empty country highway like a chicken-shit bad-ass. (K)