Caw! Caw! Bummer Palace

You've got to assume that all four members of Chicago, IL's Caw! Caw! are a relatively carefree bunch. After all, these four dudes began as a hardcore, political punk outfit and now find themselves sounding a lot more like the soundtrack to a hip commercial for summer-loving khakis. How they let go of their preconceived notions of thrashing punk aesthetics and musical direction is a perplexing question, sure. And considering how natural and communal some of the melodies sound on Bummer Palace (their debut full-length), their decision looks like a good one. But don't jump the gun. Caw! Caw! still manage to prove that they're not pure popsters at heart rather often on Bummer Palace, including the incessant guitar-noodling that litters seven minute faux-epic "Martyrs On Ice." And while the expansive feel of a few of the five-minute tracks does show some promise, nine-minute album closer "Run And You Might Save Your Lives" tries too much, too often. Between airy, Sigur Rós-inspired nonsense and some pretty blatant Pavement rip-offs, Caw! Caw! end Bummer Palace on a confusing note. Caw! Caw! are clearly in a state of evolution; it's just a shame they had to document this particular stage in their career. (Trust Tapes)