World Leader Pretend
From the swampy, shambled, drunken, broken, blues- and jazz festridden streets of New Orleans comes the most romantic, stately, and, hell, best band to come out of the South since R.E.M. On its second full-length, World Leader Pretend keeps its influences in its pockets (not on its sleeve) as it delivers an arresting lineup of soulful, ragged, piano-battering ballads. Aside from singer Ferguson's balls-out frontmanship (gasps and whispers, solid belting, attempts at a falsetto that's sadly above his range), the instrumentation is Herculean for a band so young, juxtaposing hotel-room trashers with sleigh bellsandpiano interludes off the soundtrack to a lost Wes Anderson Christmas caper. But damn it if it isn't too much. Almost all the songs try to be staggering, dynamic masterpieces, which leads to a misleading impression of sameness. But in a retro-obsessed, masturbatory-indie-diluted market, a band that crams too many muscular, sonorous, earnest, and ambitious songs on a single record hardly warrants complaint. -- Jason Harper
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Miami, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.