Though initially started as a side project for lead singer Ian Kenny (of Karnivool, another Perth-based rock outfit), the Birds of Tokyo became a major source of radio-friendly hits with their debut. For their sophomore effort, they do two things -- first, they enlarge the range of their radio-friendly bits, working in greater guitar efforts, some extraordinarily catchy hooks, and a strong set of vocals from Kenny. Secondly though, and perhaps more importantly, the band explores new territories, veering into slightly darker territory with a few minor chords, and a bit more emotional delivery from Kenny. Though their experimentation is entirely listenable and worthwhile, it's the more uptempo pieces that will really capture the listeners on Universes. The massive single "Silhouettic" moves through an almost-Linkin Park structure that introduces a few interesting parallel melodic lines from time to time to add some accentuation. "Wild Eyed Boy" makes for a nice bit of classic rock structuring with some of the tiny touches that ornamented mainstream rock in the late '90s. "Broken Bones" moves from a U2-style intro to a Fall Out Boy-style chorus to Audioslave-style verses. The mix on the album is very nice, and though nothing in particular breaks out as entirely new, the combination of all of the elemental chunks makes for a surprising sophomore release.
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AllMusic Review by Adam Greenberg