album reviews

The Constantines
Kensington Heights
Arts & Crafts (2008)

There is often a stigma about growing older, and the Constantines might not be able to avoid it. The quintet's fourth album, "Kensington Heights," could be showing some of those signs: They have traded in the aggression of their earlier albums (Fugazi was a common touchstone) for a more restrained sound.

But the group has found the more interesting side of the division between restraint and simplicity. "I Will Not Sing a Hateful Song" has a mellow vibe, and the opening track, "Hard Feelings," although lively, gets its point across better with focused control than with all-out energy. "Our Age" even finds the Constantines addressing the pains of growing older ("Lessons learned/Live longer/It's only our age"), showing that the years have brought the group maturity rather than infirmity.

-- Catherine P. Lewis

.: Originally published: The Washington Post: 18 April 2008, Page WE08
.: Kensington Heights on