Kids With Fake Guns
We Never Shut Up About You
For its second album in its nine-year existence, the Charlotte, N.C., indie quintet Hrvrd changed its lineup, its band name (it used to go by Harvard), and its sound. Where its 2009 debut album (The Inevitable and I) pulsed and pounded with hard-hitting guitar pop built around progressive arrangements, 2013’s From the Bird Cage is noticeably mellower. Black Crème opens with atmospheric guitar effects chiming in delicate swirls around Jesse Clasen’s boyish voice. The guitars in “Futurist” get pumped through so many effect pedals they sound downright shoegazing at times, save for the staccato riffs in the pre-chorus. The guitars backpedal a decade in “Kids with Fake Guns,” sometimes approximating a Johnny Marr jangle synonymous with The Smiths while at other times using a high-end shimmer resembling Will Sergeant's sounds with Echo & The Bunnymen. This isn't to say From the Bird’s Cage is a retro album. If anything, songs like the more brooding “We Never Shut Up About You” and the closing “Eva Brücke” have more in common with Circa Survive.