New Berlin State of the Union LP

Following up their 2019 album Magnet, NEW BERLIN’s third full-length continues their exploration of post-indie garage pop. The album’s sonic terrain opens with a nod to raw minimalism, echoing the dissonant spirit of WIRE, then moves quickly into flirtation with the sunnier side of jangle-pop shoegaze. There’s a tip of the hat to honky-tonk country on the third and fourth tracks, before settling into a cleaned up LOU REED-esque groove that prevails for the remaining songs. The trajectory is a bit disorienting, though not incoherent or whiplash-inducing. While not revolutionary, State of the Union makes for great background music with pleasing aesthetics and digestible harmonies. If you want to be challenged by an album, this will not fit the bill, but for a laid-back palette cleanser, it just might.