Sonic Reducer

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The band that helped bring New York rock back from the dead has decided it wants to make new wave disco jams. It’s Blitz! proves the Yeah Yeah Yeahs can take a daring leap and land safely on the other side. The new format still carries the same high energy and adolescent volatility that characterizes the band’s previous two releases, but this record trades buzz guitar for synthesizer. Many groups change their stripes, but the result doesn’t pan out. Others keep their one trick going until fans eventually grow tired. The successful reinvention is the ultimate trick. It’s Blitz! pulls it off with grace. (SM)

The Thermals Now We Can See (Kill Rock Stars)

One day, “wow-wow” choruses and four-chord songs might get old. Thankfully for The Thermals, that day hasn’t come yet. Slyly slapdash and brilliant in its simplicity, this band’s garage-punk stays engaging despite a by-design lack of frills. The Thermals is similarly thrifty when it comes to the number of lyrics spoken-sung by singer-songwriter Hutch Harris. But the sparse verbiage doesn’t keep Harris from espousing, quite clearly, themes of indifference, self-destruction and remorse. Now We Can See has a staggering enormity to it that belies the fact that it’s produced by a seldom double-tracking power trio. (SM)

Death Cab For Cutie ÒThe Open Door EPÓ (Atlantic Records)

If you follow the Narrow Stairs long enough, you’re bound to find “The Open Door EP” to your liking. This five-track disc came out of nowhere, but it’s difficult to say whether that’s where the abrupt release will end up. The EP is stripped down and smooth, and the final track—“Talking Bird (Demo)”—ends on a simple but grand note, much more delicate than the previous version on Narrow Stairs . (JH)

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