With each album, Brandtson refines its pop-infused indie-rock sound. In Hello Control, the Cleveland quartet reflects influences like the Violent Femmes and Depeche Mode -- and ex-Furnace St. mastermind Adam Boose, who took the reins after bassist John Sayre departed.
"A Thousand Years" opens the disc with a lush synth backdrop and drummer Jared Jolley's boyish vocals, giving way to Myk Porter's vocoder-tinged backups. On "Earthquakes & Sharks," "Denim Iniquity," and "Here We Go," the band seems bent on getting a dance party started, with its perfected pop hooks and Boose's electronic genius momentum. The disc's real standouts are "Friend or Faux?" and "Lie to Me," which combine syncopated synth with serrated guitars reminiscent of Franz Ferdinand, produced to the pop perfection of Jimmy Eat World. While this pop masterpiece's new, more polished direction may irk some die-hard fans, the group's eclecticism will ensure that it gains more followers than it loses.