Rockets Red Glare

Moonlight Desires

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For their second album, Rockets Red Glare haven't tinkered much with their sound: While the guitar, bass, and drums are all loud, the spaces in between result in a very minimal brand of hardcore, math rock, post-rock -- whatever your favorite term. It's easy to regard the music itself as overly intellectual, with slippery, shifting time signatures and complicated rhythms throwing off those who just want to move to the beat, but that would ignore something that seems like a bit of a paradox: Despite the egghead musicianship, there's definitely a groove here that can't be ignored, even if you can't quite dance to it. Much of the thanks for this is in the tightened interplay between bassist Jeremy Strachan and drummer Weinkauf, who lock together beautifully this time out, especially through the early part of the album. Evan Clarke's guitar lines are still intricate, even occasionally jazzy, providing the perfect finishing touch. Even though there's more of an emphasis on vocals on Moonlight Desires, they're still secondary to the instrumental sections most of the time. That's OK, because it's still exciting to hear the band in full instrumental swing, like on the opening number, "Future Interior," or on the spare "Bloomfield." It's also nice to hear them try something more succinct, like "The Folding," which is -- almost shockingly, considering the near-epic length of most of the band's other numbers -- under three minutes. No sophomore jinx here.

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