This time around, the Swedish quartet has split the difference, trading muscle for flexibility, like a bodybuilder who is suddenly hitting the yoga mat five nights a week. Which means: bubblegum harmonies and bubbling keyboards, guitars that slap and stroke in equal measure, lyrics that are less about itching for a fight than about "Stupid Tricks" that lead to an "Empty Heart." Keep-It-Simple-Stupid gems like "Stay/Stay Way" and "Hangin'" seem to point to the band's growing future as an elastic, Elastica-like smart-pop band, with more early Wire references (a bit watered-down, but still there) and less barbed-wire bravado. Don't get us wrong: Sahara Hotnights are still badass. They're just finding more interesting ways to play that part.
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