Traffic and Weather
The New York band's first album of new material since their 2003 breakthrough Welcome Interstate Managers is a worthy follow-up. Keeping intact their penchant for mixing catchy guitar pop, clever lyrics, and a buffet of pop culture references, the group always approaches their subjects from unusual angles, focusing on the minute indignities of various bureaucracies. Like in "Yolanda Hayes," which pokes fun at the DMV in the guise of a romantic obsession with the title clerk (behind "window B"), or in "Michael and Heather at the Baggage Claim," a snapshot of a couple's frustrating day of air travel. The music remains fresh and varied, from energetic alt-rock to bouncy pop to folk-rock. Gleefully done and very enjoyable.