Mussels Night Lights

A lot of bands get labelled "indie rock,” dumbing it down as the new vague "alternative,” but few bands play into the genre’s superficialities more than Mussels. The group’s debut EP, Night Lights, sounds a hell of a lot like older Built to Spill with a "rock singer,” except that the impressive instrumental changeups and song structures are far cleverer than the songwriting behind it. The EP’s opening four tracks are all interesting, full of instrumental choruses and breakdowns with harmonies, a lot of good parts in okay songs. Really, only "Tuesday, Thursday, Friday” stumbles completely, failing to hold together the track’s "this is the single!” delivery, but it fails to stand out for the same reason many of the good songs on the EP do: the lack of a really great hook or melody. Too much lacks anything significant to tie together a half-hour’s worth of prefab indie-rock™ from a band who play too well to be this average. (Independent)