Entertainment Is Over If You Want It
(Arena Rock)

The Portland band's music is deep, textured, dark and luscious. Entertainment Is Over If You Want It is an aptly named album: complex but not convoluted, esoteric without over-indulgence. The Swords are right--it's not entertainment, and it is a project. Many influences abound here, and the arrangements on the band's recording are at times masterful. Six full-time players mix electro-pop phrases with anthem-rock build and color it all with a symphonic prowess. Few bands demonstrate such craft; even fewer are as good at creating a sound unmistakably its own. Corey Ficken's vocals are sweet but scant and sometimes conflict with the band's melodic narrative a bit, searching too soon for a song's end. Only seven tracks make the whole of the album, though some tracks hit the 10-minute mark, making a sound not to be stifled by pop-rock conventions. It's real music that after two years in the making shows us the most elegant thing of all--how to breathe. (Stiv J. Wilson)

Naked Music Presents Lost on Arrival

Naked's been providing some of the sexiest dance tracks in recent years, with compilations such as Carte Blanche and Nude Dimensions combining throbbing house rhythms with silky vocals and samples. The label's newest vehicle steers away from this formula and into the realm of cosmic disco and smooth electro. There's still plenty of gyrating titillation. It's just with a slightly dirtier edge, offering a little more bounce in your grind. DJ T, Chicken Lips, Trentemoller and others lovingly revisit those get-togethers of pioneering house and electro from the early '80s, after house decided to spawn from disco's rib. Through its 17 tracks, which also feature remixes by Dimitri from Paris, Streetlife Originals, Jimpster and more, Arrival doesn't necessarily venture where no dancer has gone before. But it gives us many new reasons to go there again. (Kai Hsing)