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San Francisco-based Thinking Fellers has put out skewed, dense, Zappaesque pop albums for years to much critical acclaim. Beloved by its following, the band has never quite gotten its commerical due. The most recent effort finds the group split off from iconic indie hit factory and longtime proponent Matador but unwavering in direction. In other words, this is the latest worthy stab at art from a band that has grown more polished but has never lost sight of its vision. The craft is still less ambitious than the ideas, but the Fellers are inventive enough to distract one from the occasionally middling guitar-rock underneath. These wry, pithy cutouts (from “Empty Cup”: “Nothing isn’t/What I lack”) can feel unfinished, like Guided by Voices’ work. Nevertheless, the group is still out there on its own, making very modern multigenre pop that’s pretty much unrelated to current indie rock, though at times its music feels like a playful poke at it. Best are the latter songs—the unsettling strummed child’s rhyme “Arbeiter,” the glimmering, multitextured guitar piece “Triple X,” the inspired ensemble playing of “Booth Delirium,” the courtly, Latin-flecked “Hills”—evincing the many moods of an inimitable band

.—Michael Wiener