The stormy one-two punch ("Code Red," "What I Built Last Night") that opens the Casket Lottery's third full-length runs a gamut of rock styles, making shape-shifting noise that hits like a Whippit-induced head rush. Singer and guitarist Nate Ellis, bassist Stacy Hilt and drummer Nathan "Junior" Richardson lock together like Krazy Glue, crafting a voluminous downpour that pays tribute to everyone from Kill Creek to Shiner to Smashing Pumpkins to the Beatles without imitating any of them. Ed Rose's meticulous production drips with Red House paint: myriad layers of chiming and fuzz-tone guitars effortlessly elbow for room amid complex sonic backdrops and that
drum sound. Julia Shields turns in another knockout guest appearance on the airy "Leaving Town," pairing perfectly with Ellis and company's clip-clopping acoustic musings.
Vocally, Ellis tends to follow the music's cartwheeling lead, but his guttural shrieks are never as convincing as his regular voice. Still, no local band does the whisper-to-roar thing with more conviction, and at just less than 34 minutes, Survival is smart enough to leave listeners wanting more.