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A Joyful Noise

B-
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May 18, 2012 at 04:00 AM EDT

Two albums after their 2006 breakout Standing in the Way of Control, the once-scrappy trio are still trying on different post-fame hats, often in the same song. Do they want to be highbrow purveyors of danceable angst, or pensive chroniclers of punk anomie? It helps that they’ve still got Beth Ditto’s clarion voice and her bandmates’ jittery, White Stripes-ian riffs while they’re figuring it out — and that the album has bursts of riot-disco alchemy (like ”Move in the Right Direction”). But without a clear purpose, most of A Joyful Noise blends into a fog of wandering melodies and come-and-go beats that sound ambivalent about even wanting your attention. B-

Best Tracks:
Breakup boogie Move in the Right Direction
It’s-not-love ballad Involved

A Joyful Noise

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A Joyful Noise

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