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Able Archer

Able Archer's latest effort starts out on a grandiose note with "No Goodbyes (The Mass Tremendous)." The elegant instrumental is a chorus of synthesized strings, a classically formal passage spelled out on the keys by Matt Huseman that leads into "Plane Crash." That brief tune's epic feel is a fitting introduction for the ambitious album, which follows Able Archer's self-titled EP debut from 2008. The band mixes bright, meditative pop ballads like "Currency" with darker, driving rock tunes like "In Support of the Steady State Theory." Huseman's vocals remain consistent across the broad range of sounds and styles, and the rest of the band (including onetime Backbeat contributor Chris Callaway) keeps the textures fresh and interesting through eleven tracks. While the vocals in "Mouthful of Knives" echo Thom Yorke, and the record's technology-based themes tend to recall vintage Grandaddy work, tunes like "List of My Demands" and "Soyuz II" pop with creative guitar work and an original composition style.

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