This Minnesota group — making its major-label debut after several independent efforts — can sound like a folk band. It also can sound like a thoughtful alternative rock band, whose melodies outline sad and curious curves; a band with luminous pop vocal harmony; and, most enticingly, a band that might power any or all of its other styles with a propulsive R&B beat.
Trip Shakespeare sings one song (”Snow Days”) that’s nothing more than a celebration of snow. But the melody has long-legged strength. And the beat — as well as the sweep of the piano and even the style of the background harmony — anchors the song in the solid earth of R&B. Across the Universe has its ups and downs, but ”Snow Days” made me want to sit up and shout. B