Divine Times

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Between pregnancies and transatlantic moves, life got in the way of Wetdog delivering a quick follow-up to their second album, 2009's Frauhaus! Over the next few years, the bandmembers worked on other projects -- including bassist Billy Easter's other group Shopping and Rivka Gillieron's career as an author and editor -- but they also made time here and there to record new Wetdog songs. It's to their credit that Divine Times doesn't sound like it took four years to make; in fact, it's just as raw and spontaneous as their earlier work, making it a perfect fit for Upset the Rhythm, who have also released music by like-minded artists such as Deerhoof. However, it's still bands like the Raincoats to whom Wetdog are most indebted. Like that legendary act, they can go from knowing and world-weary on one song to full of primal wonder on the next; there's an ironic chirp to their harmonies on "The Means," while the hypnotic simplicity of the title track casts a stately spell. There's a tension in the band's intricate layers and raw execution that makes for fascinating listening, especially on standouts such as the sweet-and-sour "Winchester" and the ambitious, unabashedly pretty "Jym Fingers." While it's tempting to want Wetdog to trim off some of the looser ends of their music, Divine Times' wonkier moments give a fuller representation of their sound and prove that they're keeping the tradition of freewheeling, female-fronted British post-punk alive and well.