June 13, 2003 at 04:00 AM EDT
We gave it an A-

Frequent comparisons to Radiohead, Sparklehorse, and the Flaming Lips notwithstanding, this California-based quartet is still busy charting the terra incognita they first explored in 2000’s remarkable Sophtware Slump–a land of sunny ’70s electro-cheeze and state-of-the-art pop. And if their goofy, proselike wordplay suggests a familiarity with Raymond Carver and Douglas Coupland (on the loss of a cell phone: “…He calculated all the height, and width, and density/For insurance purposes…”), the band also reaffirms a gift for creating melancholic melodies that are surprisingly sturdy and self-assured.

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