Purveyor of a soaring brand of indie rock that radiates a sun-bathed relaxation, the Australian four-piece Umpire has put together quite a nice little debut LP here. The most appealing aspect of Umpire’s offerings is the clipped-yet-fluid mid-rangey guitar grooves (equal parts redolent of Modest Mouse and math rock) that form the bedrock for the group’s Panoramic ambitions. The band is so adept at knitting those circulating riffs that it falters in comparison on the quieter moments (largely reserved for the final tracks on the record), where things are noticeably looser and less considered. No matter, for Umpire sticks to its strong suits more often than not on Now We’re Active, resulting in a pleasant, beaming album that’s likely to ease listeners into a contented frame of mind.
// Notes from the Road
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