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On Shamra's second album, the New York quintet continues to explore its trademark sound: a relatively quiet and nonconfrontational but genuinely quirky variety of not-quite folk-rock. Lyrically, their songs generally stick to the usual themes of romantic confusion and loss, with occasional detours into such whimsical topics as guest list problems ("Hand Stamp") and sneaker design ("Scorpions and Mudpies"). Carrie Bolger has a fine voice, but it would be nice if she'd vary her breathy delivery a little bit from track to track. It does work nicely on the faux intensity of "Hand Stamp" and on the band's excellent version of "State of the Nation," though. Instrumentally, Shamra offers up an interesting arrangement on a blues progression on "Priorities," and there are some quietly twisted moments on the second half of the album, notably the jig-time romantic plea "Say Um." Already local favorites, Shamra is a band that has earned a place in the national game.

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