With each album, Brandtson refines its pop-infused indie-rock sound. On Hello Control, the Cleveland quartet reflects influences such as the Violent Femmes and Depeche Mode. "A Thousand Years " opens the disc with a lush synth backdrop and drummer Jared Jolley's boyish vocals, which give way to Myk Porter's vocoder-tinged backups. On "Earthquakes & Sharks," "Denim Iniquity" and "Here We Go," the band seems bent on starting a dance party, with perfect pop hooks and Adam Boose's electronic-genius momentum. But Control's real standouts are "Friend or Faux?" and "Lie to Me," which combine syncopated synth with serrated guitars reminiscent of Franz Ferdinand. While Brandtson's new, more polished direction may irk some die-hard fans, the group's eclecticism will ensure that it gains more followers than it loses.
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