Welcome to another edition of Sound Bites, our economy-sized album reviews. This week, Chris Callaway and Mark Bliesener weigh in on recent national releases from Quiet Company, Death Cab for Cutie, Pete Doherty, the Fratellis, the Life and Times and the View after the jump.
Quiet Company, Everyone You Love Will Be Happy Soon (Self-released). While many newer rock outfits try to play pin the tail on the melody and fail to succeed like a disorientated five-year old, these guys are spot on, and this collection of powerful radio-ready tunes proves it. If you despise keyboards or unforgettable hooks, be forewarned. -- Chris Callaway
Death Cab for Cutie, Open Door EP (Atlantic). The Seattle foursome paddles in some previously unchartered waters from a stylistic perspective, but the trademark sound is still intact, with a few new solid tunes to boot, including almost-unblemished jewel, "Diamond and a Tether." The low price tag will provide relief in the folds of your recession-weary wallet. -- Callaway
Peter Doherty, Grace/Wastelands (EMI). Peter (nee Pete) Doherty has made his first truly listenable disc since departing the Libertines, thanks to the steadying hands of producer Steven Street and guitarist/mentor Graham Coxon. Peter's writing has "matured" but not so much as to damage his overtly sincere bad boy ethic. And he's actually penned a few good songs. -- Mark Bliesener
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The Fratellis, Here We Stand (Sony), The View, Witch Bitch (Universal). The sophomore efforts from these fresh young British bands -- like the discs which proceeded -- are peppered with killer musical hooks and choruses. Though for many bands today that's quite enough, both the Fratellis and the View complement their music with the finest street level writing to emerge from the UK since Squeeze's Difford and Tilbrook. -- Bliesener
The Life and Times, Tragic Boogie (Arena Rock Recording Co.) This aural experiment arrives with plenty of textural ingredients, including xylophone, and manages to sound heavy without the metal. The growling bass tones only add to the allure. Math rockers, shoegazers and groove-loving aficionados will spark a wry, collective smile that may turn into a broad, toothy grin. -- Callaway