Darker Lights (Sparks/Universal Canada)

Rating: NNN

It’s tough for any band to regroup following a major lineup change, but sometimes a shakeup leads to a creative rethink.

After losing two members last year, local indie rockers Papermaps seem to have reinvented their sound, moving from Sloanesque power pop to something a little heavier. Now taking their cues from shoegaze, the quartet amp up the guitars and put them front and centre in the mix in their third full-length.

It’s an apt backdrop for frontman Dean Marino’s punchy vocals, but all that moody melodic texture works best when the rhythm section also kicks into full gear, as on recent CBC Radio hit The Hedonist, which surges with wiry energy.

While the shift in sound plays well to Papermaps’ strengths, and Marino’s recording engineer background is clearly evident in the first-rate production, the album quickly peters out after the first few tracks, with little to distinguish the band from their many similar-sounding peers.

Top track: The Hedonist

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