Monahans

Dim the Aurora (Misra)

Texas Platters

Monahans

Dim the Aurora (Misra)

No strangers to roads less traveled, the Monahans' sophomore outing could be the soundtrack for a trip to the center of the Permian Basin. It's an expansive work of heated, highway contemplation and weathered longing that, in the anthemic streak of "It's Enough to Leave You ..." and "I Run to You," recalls a Southern gothic translation of U2's The Unforgettable Fire. Most impressive is the way the local quartet manages to balance the tidal pull of its oceanic debut, 2007's Low Pining, with the more immediate and ruminative burn of singer Greg Vanderpool's previous outfit, Milton Mapes, diffusing the crooked carnival bent of "Slow Burn" and the title track's Springsteen dustup with aptly titled instrumental sections. That idea pays off in the end when "Terrene (Instrumental)," 21 minutes of dry creek bed scenery and languorous calm-before-the-storm ambience, is eclipsed by the ruminative ballad "Distorted Signals," which sounds like a long-distance call home from a West Texas phone booth.

***.5

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