Second from Athens, Georgia quartet led by R.E.M. remixer/Bright Eyes engineer Andy LeMaster
Considering the insidiousness of their eponymous debut (issued in the UK at the end of last year), this follow-up carries a whiff of disappointment. LeMaster’s narcotic grasp on the quiet/loud guitar dynamic remains intact, but those creeping melodies seem buried somewhere beneath. Both Michael Stipe and Conor (Bright Eyes) Oberst guest, but NIO seem more intent on gazing at shoes than stars. When it does work though, as on “A Little Consolation” and the title track, it’s engrossing stuff.