The Books Lost and Safe

Two years have passed since the Books second album The Lemon of Pink critically bested much of what 2003 had to throw at it. In that time, they’ve moved all their powerbooks, cellos, guitars, mandolins, banjos, and massive sample libraries from an apartment pantry space to the attic of a historic Victorian home. Given the spacious digs, they’ve installed a set of tuned draining pipes, a cheap metal filing cabinet fitted with subwoofers, and a vintage Hohner clavinet. Mix that all together and you’ve got a pretty good idea of what their third album, Lost and Safe, sounds like. They take the traditions of American folk music and cipher it through a 21st century collage of field recordings, only this time they’ve pushed further away from (though not quite out of) Morr Music-like indietronica, and more towards (though not quite into) the acid-folk of Animal Collective. It’s an album with way more texture than it originally lets on, and better on the fifth listen than on the first, which is more than you can say for a lot of records. (Tomlab)