The Beautiful Stories

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The sophomore long-player under the INVSN moniker from the Swedish art-rockers formerly known as Lost Patrol, The Beautiful Stories sees the Dennis Lyxzen-led troupe delivering a fervent blast of anthemic post-punk that invokes names like Killing Joke, X, Joy Division, and Siouxsie and the Banshees. The ex-(International) Noise Conspiracy and Refused frontman, who is joined by Sara Almgren (also a Noise Conspiracy expatriate), Kristina Karlsson (Tiger Forest Cat), Anders Stenberg (Lykke Li, Deportees), and Andre Sandstrom (DS-13), delivers a consistently engaging seven-track set that's light on humor and heavy on apocalyptic grandeur. Lyxzen and Almgren make for compelling dual-vocalists, with the former channeling nervy desperation and the latter toeing the line between siren sweet and outright feral. Stacked with boomy walls of percussion, icy synths, and twangy, reverb-drenched guitars, immediate standouts like "Immer Zu," "This Constant War," and "I Dreamt Music" impress with their sheer sonic might, but the band isn't above flirting with more traditional pop architectures, as evidenced by the lush "Distance," which borrows liberally from Disintegration-era Cure.

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