EW Staff
March 26, 2004 AT 05:00 AM EST

On their third album, the Standard play like they’re methodically trying to wake from an unnerving dream, employing tightly wound melodies and rapid guitar half-riffs that reek of trepidation. The tension eases up a bit midway through the CD, when the band dips low into pulpy piano screeds, but before too long Tim Putnam’s piecemeal yowls become a tedious distraction from the music’s mesmeric effects.

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