Work of Saws 

The Pious Flats

Listen to Minneapolis' Work of Saws' second album three times in a row, and it gets better with each spin (and each glass of wine). At that rate, give it about an hour to be the Greatest Pop Album Ever Recorded. But first, a little exposition. Last year's WOS debut, Motivation and Watertower Grammar, was a 44-song behemoth composed mostly of memorable four-tracked "songlets." The record was a thoroughly charming introduction to the band's genre-bending pop. The Pious Flats, its first effort in 2002, still consists primarily of songs that fly in under the two-minute radar, but it's evident from the start that this is a much more composed record, thematically and sonically. The bedroom recording aesthetic has been replaced by a clearer pop sheen, and it works wonders with singer/songwriter Brock Davis' breezy indie-country-pop ditties. The album shimmers with summery odes and beautiful, creepy ballads, songs with hooks that'll sear themselves onto your brain with branding-iron speed, coupled with wildly imaginative, oddly hilarious lyrics that evidence something extremely rare in pop music, especially in haughty indie circles. Robert Pollard may have abandoned it, and the Elephant 6ers have a dubious claim on it at best, but Work of Saws fairly bristle with it -- that great, elusive element of precocious enthusiasm that accompanies a boundless creative spirit.

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