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CD Review: Estrogen Highs' Irrelevant Future

Trouble in Mind; Release date: April 10, 2012

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On their third LP, Connecticut's Estrogen Highs begin with a look back. "Tell It To Them" recalls 2009's Tell It To Them in title, sure, but also in its wound-up anxious fitfulness. The rest of Irrelevant Future isn't so unhinged.

Between Tell It To Them and Irrelevant Future, Estrogen Highs refined their sound, introducing Kiwi-pop influences to their Wire-y post-punk on sophomore LP, Friends and Relatives. By this point, the band had fully incorporated the jangly sway of groups like The Clean, smoothing the edges and countering some of the jitteriness of its debut.

In a sense, that's a loss. Tell It To Them thrilled in its anxious, ringing guitars and fuzzless garage urgency. But the more polished band captured on Irrelevant Future is more confident, as well. The hooks dig deeper, even as the band pulls from a broader range of influences. The folksy sway of "Status Quo (Oh No)" recalls Pavement's bucolic meandering, while the uptempo "Temporary Spaces" glances at the band's past with shaggy pop worthy of the Highs' contemporaries in Jacuzzi Boys.

And indeed, Irrelevant Future's most rewarding trait is how easily Estrogen Highs move between points of reference without losing their nervy center. The '90s indie guitar squall at the end of "The Seventh Sunday of the Ordinary Times" clears gently to make way for the Byrds-y psych-sway of "I Saw Light." "I Wanna Be Tall" sheds its Television Personalities minimalism to swell into a booming, beachy refrain.

After two strong underground releases, this entry portends a new and wider relevance for Estrogen Highs.

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