Seattle gloom-poppers Aveo are the result of too many rainy days spent indoors with a guitar, battered copies of Boys Don't Cry
, and dozens of Starbucks lattes. Slightly less impressive than the sum of its influences, the trio's sophomore effort is full of finely crafted, if modestly affecting, froth-pop that bubbles over with dreary sexual overtones and loads of youthful paranoia. Perhaps the rain has affected their motivational drive; while "Awkward at the Knees" and "Desert and the Great Divorce" swoon and chime in equal measure, there's little to distinguish them from the thousand other Robert Smith-aping tunes you've heard. Although there's no reason to believe that singer/guitarist William Wilson isn't entirely sincere when he moans, "all we need is faith and A.M. radio" midway through "Haley", even the swelling ring of his delayed guitar and affected Moz sneer can't mask the banality of such a statement -- it's emo without the tired DC connotations and bad clothes.
While Aveo's repertoire could stand some shaking up, their biggest problem remains their timing; they've arrived just in time to dwell in the long shadow cast by labelmates Death Cab for Cutie and Nada Surf, meaning that the tortured figures they fight in the darkness are likely to torment them for years to come.