To hear New Invisible Joy guitarist Mike Gaydos tell the story, the band isn't necessarily a big fan of vintage alt-rock -- God is. "When John, our singer, was looking for a name for the band," explains Gaydos, "he supposedly picked up a Bible, opened up to random pages, pointed his finger, and used the words that he pointed to: 'new,' 'invisible,' and 'joy.'"
That was nearly six years ago. The Pittsburgh quartet's lush, barely structured early material earned comparisons to Radiohead, invariably invoking the description "ethereal." The group's very occasional hooks -- take the time to find "Something of a Cat and Mouse" from their 2000 debut, Pale Blue Day -- didn't so much soar as leap directly into the stratosphere. New Invisible Joy began writing (somewhat) conventional songs right about the time that Yorke et al. stopped. Two albums later, the see-through-happy crew has found a balance between singer John Schisler's falsetto-leaning vocals and Gaydos's blissfully insidious guitar lines. On tracks like "It Ain't Easy," Brian Colletti hits the drums like he's desperately trying to burn off a few pounds, proving that the best emotional rock isn't emo.