Suggs's voice sounds like a cross between Wilco's Jeff Tweedy and Paul Westerberg, dripping with a gravelly wisdom on the ballads "Forgive the Forgiven" and "One Prayer." That introspection peaks on the placid "Fidget and Fudge," which channels Radiohead and Pink Floyd with its sludgy, trance-inducing repetitions.
But "WWI" isn't always so subdued: "Nine Good Fingers" alternates between mellow, keyboard-driven verses and howling choruses, while "The Admiral" spirals into an anguished yelp before retreating to a more reflective conclusion. The group's best moments come when there's no hint of restraint: The rollicking "We're Just Temporary Ma'am" carries the passion and the driving energy of a singalong sea chantey, bubbling with an enthusiasm that's impossible to resist.
-- Catherine P. Lewis