Producer Steve Albini is typically thought of as a noise-master — a guy capable of taking a rough sound and turning it into something even rougher. But he takes a different tack on Nine Skies. The Delby L threesome of Jeff Eliassen, Dave Devine and Brian Lenherr, whose credits include the Czars and Walking Into Drawings, largely eschew serrated chords, trash-can drumming and raspy shouts in favor of delicate vocals, precise arrangements and graceful guitar figures that snake among each other like vines through a trellis. The effect can be a bit too fey on occasion, as "Songs of Something" demonstrates. However, the beguiling "Careless" and the moody, trumpet-driven "Low Voice" benefit immeasurably from Albini's sensitive settings. The album's a reminder that this pony has more than one trick.
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