On 2008's Migration, Takka Takka made the transition from streetwise urban folkies to stylish and cerebral indie rockers, maintaining the breezy '70s pop gait of their debut while simultaneously beefing up their sound with complex percussion, swirling electronics, and staccato, Vampire Weekend-esque guitar noodling. Released in 2012, the aptly titled A.M. Landscapes, the Brooklyn-based outfit's third studio album, continues in that same direction, but with the added benefits of strings and horns, which introduce new colors to the group's already vibrant sound, while adhering to the dry/wet production style (stark drums and bass/lush everything else) that the moniker suggests. There's a newfound immediacy to Gabe Levine's conversational vocal style, which resides somewhere between Camper Van Beethoven/Cracker's David Lowery and Lou Reed, lending standout cuts like "Our Great Escape," "Grave Song," and "We Are Pilgrims No More (The End of Our Traveling Days)," the latter of which employs a distinct "Ship of Fools"-era World Party vibe, an air of authority that helps to counteract some of the album's more meandering moments. Elsewhere, the brief "Little Child" charms with its infectious circular melody, "Nonsense Waves" rolls in like fog on the Hudson River, "All of Our Make Up (Words from the Front)" twists the melody from Bowie's "Sound and Vision" into a world-weary anthem for the disenfranchised, while the driving "When You Leave," which pairs the swirling, palm-muted guitars of Wild Beasts with the imaginative arrangements of Beirut, skillfully marries modern East Coast indie rock and '80s sophisti-pop.
AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger