THE LONG WINTERS, "Putting the Days to Bed"

Three albums in, the Long Winters aren't worried about impressing anyone. Their latest, "Putting the Days to Bed," isn't flashy or self-conscious; instead, it's a substantive collection of back-to-bas

Three albums in, the Long Winters aren't worried about impressing anyone. Their latest, "Putting the Days to Bed," isn't flashy or self-conscious; instead, it's a substantive collection of back-to-basics indie rock. Singer/guitarist John Roderick produced the set as well as writing the songs, and the accomplished result is likely due to his ever-increasing confidence. While "Days" never quite reaches the peaks of the sporadically brilliant "When I Pretend To Fall," it is actually the band's most consistent, melodic effort yet.

The propulsive opening track "Pushover" recalls former Barsuk labelmates Death Cab For Cutie, while "Ultimatum" is an energetic anthem for those spending the summer pining for romance. The band is still quirky: look no further than the lazy horns that introduce "Teaspoon" or the wry "Honest," which counsels a wide-eyed young girl, "don't you love a singer / whatever you do, whatever you do." Mostly, though, this is straightforward, well-crafted stuff, the sound of the Long Winters doing what they do best over and over again. -- David Greenwald