Noise-rock bands usually wait until their third album to make their "pop" record, so Brooklyn's Pterodactyl are right on schedule, releasing their most immediately accessible album yet.
They haven't forgotten their experimental roots - the songs still teem with overactive drums and mathy guitar lines - but they've also strengthened their hooks. Guitarist/singer Joe Kremer adopts his best Brian Wilson falsetto, while the other members supply sticky vocal harmonies to make bright Zombies-style pop with a wistful core.
Musicians have been using sunny melodies to disguise dark subject matter for as long as pop music has existed, but Pterodactyl's skewed sensibility suggests a sourness underneath. It's less effective when they leave that subtlety behind, as on the droney Thorn and Allergy Shots. Otherwise, they've made a sophisticated thinking listener's indie-pop record.
Top track: The Break