It's a common belief among many in the Bay Area music community that in order to get big, you have to move to New York or Los Angeles. But often, as in the case of Weekend, which moved from Oakland to Brooklyn late last year, the choice is personal rather than professional. In an interview, Weekend frontman Shaun Durkan explained to me that he was underemployed and miserable in Oakland, where he wrote much of the band's sophomore album, Jinx. Luckily, all that misery produced some lovely, goth-tinged pop music.

Weekend's 2010 debut album, Sports, was an exercise in pushing pop to its loudest, noisiest, most reverb- and echo-laden limits. Jinx dials back the aggression: There's still plenty of fuzzy guitar, New Order bass, and chaotic noise, but the melodies and vocals resonate with new clarity.

Opener "Mirror" feels like a connecting point between Weekend's past and present: It kicks off with a long instrumental section that includes a static-like synth, industrial drumbeat, and gloomy bass line. It's only when you're singing along to the incredibly catchy chorus that you realize it's unusual for the band's lyrics to be intelligible. Gauzy, lo-fi sonic textures swirl in the background of every track, almost culminating in a wall of sound on "July" and "Sirens." "Oubliette," "Adelaide," and "It's Alright" are as poppy as The Cure and could easily be licensed for a car commercial — but should that happen, we know to credit Oakland, not Brooklyn. (Slumberland)

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