The sadness that permeates these songs (even the anthems) makes the death of band guitarist and co-songwriter Richey James all the more profound. This is the band's fourth album and the first since James vanished without a trace; some of his left-behind lyrics are featured in a number of songs here. As on previous MSP albums, there’s lots of topical commentary on subjects involving class, mortality, and isolation. The ascending and weirdly hypnotic “Design for Life” tells of cynicism born of class conflicts, and the beautiful and acoustic “Small Black Flowers That Grow in the Sky” draws attention to poorly treated creatures, both big and small. “Australia” is the poppiest moment among many poppy moments, and the galactic “Interiors (Song for Willem de Kooning)” rocks as hard as early MSP, but with more intent and soul. The Wire-like “Kevin Carter” is a trumpet-and-guitar hook-fest about the Pulitzer-winning photojournalist.