This trio's Alaskan pride is exemplified on this shimmering collection of songs as colorful as the Aurora Borealis that waves above the 50th state in our nation.

This trio's Alaskan pride is exemplified on this shimmering collection of songs as colorful as the Aurora Borealis that waves above the 50th state in our nation. Fans of the group's previous two albums might be taken aback by a leniency toward the softer end of Portugal's At the Drive-In-meets-the Beatles hybrid here, reflected in the beauty of such tracks as the buoyant "Lay Me Back Down" and wintry ballad "Colors." Yet the watercolor tones of this album bring out the brilliant lyrics of chief songwriter/frontman John Baldwin Gourley, whose rustic imagery on songs "Salt" and "Out and in and in and Out" is as lucid as the lush landscape on which he was raised. Politically charged narratives like "New Orleans" and Gulf War lament "1989" offer intriguing counterbalance. -- Ron Hart