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CD of the Week: Keepaway, 'Black Flute'

Most of what's written about Keepaway references the band's Williamsburg, N.Y., global positioning and nascent Animal Collective vibe (glad I could work both in here, too), which they've largely outgrown on Black Flute, a full-length album that follows Baby Style, a 2009 EP. This one's more accessible, less psych and more pop (or that self-aware relative, Pop), lyrically forthcoming (“Every cat's gotta scratch, gotta run/can I make you find the milk on the tip of my tongue?/If I made some decisions to let my milk thicken/well the kitten will come,” goes a verse on “Vital”) and with clearer, brighter textures. The opener, “Cake,” offers Destroyer-ish soft-rock harmonies, and “Hologram” offers minor-key foreboding and scrambled, off-kilter phrase-lengths. But even the best tracks probably won't erase the tags; enough echo-y, vibrato-less male vocals and close harmonies remain to keep them pigeonholed.

Black Flute

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