When Keri Steele and Nina Martinez of Hush Hush started working out tunes for a third album, they probably didn't think it would spawn a new group. And they were probably surprised at how good the results were, since they seem like modest types. From the opener, Middleman - a brittle, shrill vocal delivery over a propulsive, shambling guitar line - right on down to the delicately ethereal closer, Wasting Time, it's clear the two are on to something bigger than the term "side project" would suggest. The songs are intricately orchestrated but never over the top, retaining urgency and bite, yet with some surprisingly solid rhythms and super-catchy melodies.
The Blue Raincoats play the Rivoli Friday (October 21).