Namelessnumberheadman’s last album, Your Voice Repeating, was welcomed with modest acclaim upon its release in 2004. Now, three years later, the unfortunately titled Kansas City trio returns with Wire Reply, a follow-up record that is far too tardy and much too humble to capitalize on the gains of its predecessor. Most of what won over critics on Your Voice Repeating is in play again on Wires Reply, but at this point those strengths just sound tired. The lap-slack/indie-electronic hybrid just isn’t so striking as it was in the post-Postal Service era when it still seemed fresh. Wires Reply suffers further for being as underdeveloped as it is outdated. The album eases by, occasionally swelling up into unsteady crescendos but never leaving a lasting impression. Still there’s an unaffected sense of earnestness about the album that makes it impossible to dismiss outright. From shaky falsettos to unrefined warmth, the album exudes all the familiar hallmarks of other seriously sensitive and oh-so-easily wounded, sweater-wearing shoe-shufflers. Unfortunately for Namelessnumberheadman, it’s still summer and entirely too hot to be bothered with another album about burden and injury.
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