The Rosebuds 

Birds Make Good Neighbors (Merge)

According to the title of the Rosebuds' second album, birds make good neighbors. But based on the sound of the album, spouses make good bandmates. Ivan Howard and Kelly Crisp started the band shortly after their wedding, and four years later they have solidified their occasionally ethereal, slightly countrified dream-pop. Still, matrimony may make them equals, but this is Howard's show. His big-hearted voice croons, wails and soars over the shimmering, reverberating production. Crisp mainly sticks to background coos and keyboard blips -- though she proves a worthy foil to her husband on the duet "Leaves Do Fall," a kind of Carter/Cash drama of distance, love and desperation. There aren't many tricks in The Rosebuds' bag, but with songs this solid and sounds this sweet, no tricks are needed.

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