Indie rockers, by definition, don't age well. Sure, it's cute to collect 'zines and Elephant 6 singles for a while, but somewhere during the third decade of a life, you gotta hang up the All Stars. So what's the problem with Beulah's latest record, Yoko? The San Francisco band ruffled some feathers when it abandoned the Zoloft-popping exuberance fans had come to adore. The record's title should have been a hint in itself, a name regarded as a harbinger of unhappy endings. "Last night is a loaded gun; you better hope that the world won't end tonight," bandleader Miles Kurosky snarls halfway though the record. It's a line delivered with enough intensity to make Beulah's twee devotees wet their corduroys. What the hell happened to these guys?

They grew up, that's what. Even though it's hard not to bop along to the sappy cheer on the group's previous platters (including the downright chipper The Coast Is Never Clear), when Beulah bares its teeth, it's even better. Everything from the reflective confession of "Don't Forget to Breathe" to the downright sinister near-ballad "Wipe Those Prints and Run," Beulah proves that it can deliver the good news with the bad. And the bad news sounds great.

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Nate Cavalieri

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