Thu, Jul 10, 2008 (midnight)
Named Nevada’s Best New Band in the Boston Phoenix’s recent “50 Bands, 50 States” survey, The Bleachers prove they deserve a big seat at the small table of Las Vegas acts worthy of consideration with their second expert full-length in as many tries. Everything about Conjure—its gauzy production, Joe Maloney’s Robyn Hitchcock-esque vocals, Marco Brizuela’s accentuated electric piano, David Hines’ crisp drums and, most of all, its advanced songwriting—sounds professional, yet the trio keeps its sound DIY enough to out-indie half the junk classified as independent rock these days.
A portentous, caught-in-a-rainstorm vibe pervades, with such angular post-punk derivations as “Ice on the Equator,” “Zodiac” and “Duende” constituting the majority of the disc. But The Bleachers smartly let in a little sunlight, mixing in a smidge of Replacements-ish college rock (“Gargoyle”) and taking a quick time warp back to Maloney’s days as an open-mic folk hero (“Stolen”).
A couple of minor complaints: We probably don’t need back-to-back versions of the same song (“Skeleton”), interesting as the contrast between the two might be; and, following the apocalyptic, six-plus-minute “Duende,” closing instrumental “Rivalry” feels a bit tacked-on
That said, Conjure is the local album of the year thus far, by far. If A&R folks happen to be reading this (presuming they exist anymore), they should need just one spin through stellar second track “Build an Army” to resolve that Nevada’s borders ought not contain these Bleachers any longer.
The bottom line:****1/2