Mixing desperate vocals, clanging, state-of-the-art guitarwork, sarcastic lyrics, and a touch of tunefulness, Archers of Loaf’s second full-length effort boasts some of the most effective punk-derived compositions released this year. Working with a circumscribed palette of sonic and emotional colors, the Archers nevertheless make the most of the hues they choose to apply. Both adrenaline-rush, pump-your-fist, post-hardcore anthems such as “Fabricoh” and “Harnessed in Slums” and Pavementlike elegies to frustration like “Floating Friends” and “Death in the Park” connect. There aren’t any straight-ahead hum-along choruses here, but guitarist Eric Bachmann’s caustic chants, particularly “Greatest of All Time” ‘s “throw him in the river” lodge firmly in one’s head. Synthesizing the band’s blend of noise, semi-melodic grandiosity, and oblique lyrics, “Greatest” ‘s tale of rock fans drowning “the frontman of the world’s worst rock ‘n’ roll band” captures the foursome at its most distinctive.

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