It looks as if the Pinehurst Kids have done a bit of shopping lately. After saving up their allowances for months, they went and spent the whole load at Hooks 'R' Us, and it was a wise investment for this Portland trio. While the band's members haven't cheered up a whole lot since their debut (1999's Minnesota Hotel), one would be hard-pressed to find such morose lyrics delivered in a more melodic manner. The Pinehurst Kids crafted a very good record in Minnesota Hotel, but Viewmaster builds upon the best parts of the former and adds more diversity and maturity to the mix. With gleefully fuzzed-out guitars leading the pack, the group has a nice power pop base with a hint of jangle here and there, as well as some murkier experiments ("Me Wrong") that border on Mudhoney's style of hook-sludge. Joe Davis' vocals seem particularly commanding and comfortable, and the production only bolsters this strength. The band particularly shines on the title track, a pulsing number with a perfect balance of upbeat hooks and discordant gloomy noise. The Pinehurst Kids have done well with Viewmaster, building upon their previous experience, developing into better songwriters, and tackling a more diverse array of material. The songs may not cheer one up, but the result is never a downer.