On their sophomore album, Gauntlet Hair have cleaned up their act. You can imagine the Denver duo of Andy Rauworth and Craig Fleischman patching up the holes in their jeans, pulling a comb through their mops - you know, growing up.
But what made the band so charming - their indiscernible vocals, the prickly, overbearing guitars, the lo-fi grittiness of it all - has been lost in the makeover. There's still some noisy ambience, like on album standout Heave (rough as sandpaper), but there's also an overarching pop sensibility that the band used to subvert. It's certainly not a pop record, but the more refined sound on Stills slimes instead of grinds. Bad Apple, an 80s-ish seductive slow jam, is coated in a thick layer of sticky gloss production that begs to be wiped off.
Top track: Heave