More than the unlikely chant-along choruses or lofty lyrical abstractions, the most lasting impression made by the inventive post-pop on Chin Up Chin Up's second full-length is one of immense and disorienting wonder. The trail of breadcrumbs leading into "Stolen Mountains" starts simply: light guitars and two friends on the way "home from Benton Harbor, Michigan, with snow-covered headlights," and before you know it, the song is neck-deep in layers of electric picking, looping marimba, strings and -- damn, how did we get here again? Certainly the Chicago outfit is well paired with Modest Mouse producer Brian Deck, who fetters its Wagnerian orchestration tendencies and helps songs like "Water Planes in Snow" and the heart-racing title track stack up the sonic layers for an aching effect. When the group dabbles in simpler tunes, as on the after-party anthem "We've Got to Keep Running," the new discoveries that surface with each listen prove that Chin Up Chin Up's sum is still somehow greater than its many parts.
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