Arts and Crafts' latest release comes via Los Angeles band NO, the six-piece with a penchant for dramatic indie rock (which makes them excellent supporters for labelmates the Darcys on their upcoming tour).
El Prado is so polished and composed that it's hard to believe this is NO's debut album. It's lush with gorgeous guitar hooks, layered harmonies (nice to see a band take advantage of their big membership) and the kind of catchy, hummable melodies that don't pop up nearly enough in indie rock any more.
Most remarkable, however, is the similarity between lead singer Bradley Hanan Carter's vocals and the National's Matt Berninger's. They're both baritones, sure, but the emotional, melancholic drawl that Berninger's made his signature is awfully samey, too. Still, all things considered, NO's debut is strong enough to forgive any over-apparent influences. In short: say yes.
Top track: What's Your Name
NO play Lee's Palace on March 25.