Sparky, angular second from luckless young Brit-rockers

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Ikara Colt – Modern Apprentice

Ikara Colt’s impassioned dealings in the gnarlier end of art-rock should by now have elevated the London-based quartet into the indie Premiership. Hampered by misfortune and incompetence (their original bassist quit, replaced by Tracy Bellaries), their second album, helmed by At The Drive-In producer Alex Newport, channels a palpable love of early Fall (check singer Paul Resende’s Smith-like vowel-mangling on “Repro/Roadshow/Nightmare”) and Daydream Nation-period Sonic Youth (“Waste Ground”) into a convincing half-hour that teeters, teasingly, on the brink of collapse. The slinky punk-pop of “Modern Feeling” proves they’ve also got chart appeal, though you suspect Top Of The Pops is not yet a priority.