Picastro Metal Cares

The wait between Red Your Blues and Liz Hysen and company’s newest effort seemed to have an invigorating effect, as the songs on this sophomore disc exude much more confidence, while still keeping tender and approachable. Getting helping hands from the now-ubiquitous Owen Pallett on viola and Sea Snakes’ Jim McIntyre for vocal help, the band’s most notable change has been the fact that you can now hear, and even somewhat decode, some of the lyrics. "Dramaman,” besides being the most challenging and raw song here, sees Hysen’s skewed vocals fully conveying the uncomfortable nature of the song. Oppositely, "Raddy Daddy” sees her hit the high-pitched "a-ha’s” with ease and considerable emotion, making this one of the more beautiful and accessible songs. Besides Hysen’s voice, the tension has also ratcheted up a notch, bringing a great sense of menace and crushing inevitability. An extremely accomplished album, Metal Cares soothes and seduces while also threatening and accusing. In the end, though, it leaves you to your own thoughts, albeit a bit more paranoid in the end. Never has catharsis been wrapped in such unassuming garments. (Polyvinyl)