HRVRD's second full-length album proves the Charlotte indie-rock quintet hasn't lost a step from its previous efforts (Animals EP, 2008; The Inevitable and I LP, 2009 and The Interpretations EP, 2010). The band picks up where it left off with ease — offering intricate soundscapes behind singer Jesse Clasen's haunting lyrics. From the Bird's Cage is filled with pop sensibility and alt-rock movements that quickly grasp a listener with its overlapping layers.
There are hints of Explosions in the Sky's cinematic style alongside symptoms of Radiohead's and Circa Survive's falsetto-sprayed vocals throughout the 10 tracks. The band even moves toward folk-rock on "Cardboard Houses," a politically charged song with rolling snare rhythm and acoustic plucking building toward its "call for the blood of your leaders" chorus.
The Bird's Cage songs are built on straight-forward drums, guitar riffs and the willingness of Clasen to explore his vocal range and limits — not afraid to be playful, emotional, smoky or soothing. The band finds a way to work in sporadic sonic anomalies to keep things interesting, as well. A xylophone tinkers in momentarily on "Kids with Fake Guns," while a trumpet rings in on "We Never Shut Up About You." HRVRD has the ability to sonically wander without getting lost.
Sophomore slump? HRVRD's never heard of such a thing. Check out the band's CD release concert at Tremont Music Hall on April 7.