The Double

Prior to starting recording sessions for The Double's second album, drummer Jeff McLeod injured his hand. But what might have dealt the New York quartet a blow instead worked in the young band's favor, as the injury forced The Double to reconsider their more conventional rock assumptions and reinforce the fundamentals of their songs. Through the terra incognita of programmed beats, artful glitches and frightening noise, last year's Palm Fronds was an often frustrating album, but as often a beautiful one.

Follow-up Loose in the Air is by far a more refined work. Spontaneity has given way to strategy. The studio craftwork is professional, the edges of the band's ambient noisiness filed down. At the same time, this album's hooks and melodies boast a sharper bite than those on its predecessor. "Idiocy" may be the only certifiable post-rock you'd be tempted to sing along with, while loose-limbed tracks such as "On Our Way" and "Dance" have a kind of formal relevance--the songs seem to be seeking some kind of musical path through storms of free-floating foreboding. The melodies tilt left and right, up and down, like refugees clinging to the flimsy raft they can only hope is taking them somewhere better. Luckily, on Loose, it is.

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