Unrest-ed Development: Cross? latest project has some of her old band?s rocky sound.

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Affordable recording technology has been both boon and bane for indie musicians: The barriers to making a record have never been lower, but the slice-and-dice nature of modern production often makes for sterile results. Pitch correction, tempo mapping, and invasive editing have made many indie releases these days sound a lot like their glossy major-label counterparts. So it’s refreshing that the first album by Maybe It’s Reno, the new project from ex-D.C. stalwart Bridget Cross, is flush with aural idiosyncrasies. Cross is best known as the bassist-vocalist yin to Mark Robinson’s guitarist-vocalist yang in the much-missed Unrest; before that, she fronted an early version of Velocity Girl, which fused D.C.-style postpunk with British shoegaze. She now lives in Alaska, but for most of the tracks on Maybe It’s Reno, she reunites with her former Unrest mates, Robinson and drummer Phil Krauth, to deliver an agreeably familiar mix of dreamy guitar and gawky grooves. The CD has a pleasantly tossed-off feel, like a group of old friends bashing out a bunch of tunes and not troubling too much over the arrangements, and many of the hallmarks of ’90s indie-rock are here—single-string basslines, unfussy drumming, crystalline guitars. Little gaffes abound—a fluffed fill here, an awkward turnaround there—but the record coheres around Cross’ coquettish voice and winsome songcraft. The album’s opener, “Baby’s Lost in Tracks,” addresses love and addiction, and as guitars chime over a bossa beat and sinewy bassline, Cross pines for a druggie lover. “Drink another dose, maybe love will help us both cope/Baby’s lost in tracks, and he won’t come back,” she sings in a desperate hush. The album’s sound is generally sparse, but it’s not without its flourishes, like Krauth’s turn on Mellotron on the shimmering “Feathers and Wings.” Not all of it works seamlessly: Robinson’s rapid strumming recalls his work in Unrest, but the tune’s probing pulse and Cross’ ­supper-jazzy vocals make for an unusual musical cocktail. The tune comes across as earnest, if amateur (though that’s the prevailing aesthetic of vintage indie rock). There’s a similar quirkiness to “Sugarloaf Mountain,” which features spy-movie bass, a squirrely vocal melody, and a lyric that’s either about the Rio De Janeiro peak or the Maine ski resort: “Indian head, arrowhead, civil war, human form, charcoal glass factory/All these things you have seen/Sugarloaf Mountain.” The pace picks up with “Gravestones and Christmas Trees,” which, despite its wintry title, is intimate and nonchalant. The playing is economical, but the tune’s frisky beat and insouciant lyrics are charming: “Listen little boy, you aren’t human/I see you in my dreams eating cereal,” Cross sings as keyboards plink and guitar arpeggios ring. If there’s such a thing as “classic indie,” Maybe It’s Reno is it. Whether you find the band’s sound delicious or dull probably depends on your digital disposition, but it has warmth and character in spades.