In the world of instrumental rock, Saxon Shore has little in common with the onanistic, sonically soulless noodling of Eric Johnson or the spaced-out, loosely constructed noise rock of Mogwai. For its latest album, the ensemble teamed with producer Dave Fridmann to produce ten tightly structured, richly layered instrumentals -- fat with hummable melodies and ecstatic, non-verbal choruses. The Exquisite Death of Saxon Shore is a mystical gem of a poprock record that owes a debt to other Fridmann favorites such as the Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev. It's the kind of record critics can't help calling "lush" and music fans can't help nodding along to. Carefully balancing rocking chops and rocking chairs, Saxon Shore's soulful hipster Muzak is right at home in the CD changer at your favorite café. But why settle for that when you can have the quasi-religious experience of its uplifting, wordless weavings live and in the flesh?