Some things are just better in the Midwest. Like emotional post-rock, for instance — the kind created by Rainer Maria, the Promise Ring, Get Up Kids and the Anniversary, which is full of roaring jangle, vocal longing, tangled rhythms and heart-rending lyrics. Each of these acts obviously had a profound influence on the Forecast, although the Peoria, Illinois, quartet sounds more like a peer than a progeny. This year's self-titled album, its debut for Eyeball Records and first full-length since 2006's In the Shadow of Two Gunmen, is a confident, well-produced collection. Highlights include the sparkling heartland-bar stomp "Illinois," on which Shannon Burns' background vocals prick like a bee sting, and the confident "Lost at Sea," which unfolds like the Promise Ring and the Hold Steady hoisting a few together.
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