Life Like (Merge)

The Rosebuds 

Life Like
(Merge)

Like many married couples, Kelly Crisp and Ivan Howard pre-empted the dreaded seven-year itch by experimenting. Last year's Night of the Furies found them trying out synth-heavy, dance-floor beats with mixed results, but the Rosebuds have fallen back on old habits for their fourth LP. Life Like opens with the dark, surfy title track that introduces a man-versus-beast theme, which appears again in "Nice Fox," a sort of melancholic version of the band's catchy 2005 near-breakout song "Shake Our Tree." The Rosebuds have become better storytellers over the years, and this time around, they employ rambunctious wildlife references, Ouija boards and a man-eating catfish to spin their yarns. Life Like is also the duo's most rounded effort, partly due to the fact that Crisp is beginning to take on more vocal responsibilities. Unfortunately, the album doesn't take any risks, much like those awkward moments after the safe word is spoken.

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