Like the new Shouting Matches album, engineer TJ Swan has left the production spare and inviting to emphasize that starkness. It's fun, but there's a rawness to it that keeps everything from getting to glossy. They're accessible.

Worried Well can be goofy, even. Their video for "Sickly Honest" is a fun take-off on OK Go's first video breakthrough, and the song itself has an open and close that feature guitars like sound effects. The song's center, though, is banged-out pop rock, with a huge chorus ("She knows me well enough not to believe me/I'm never strong enough to no deceive you, you see") and a bridge that ramps up further with gang vocals. "You're Doing Fine" is almost Billy Joel in its pop and struts in the verse, with sword strokes of attacking chords. Maturation is on James's mind again, as he points to "children of the '80s going gray with age." Like the Hold Steady or the Weakerthans, his brand of nostalgia can be biting, and they sound like both bands with the organ-filled play out.

Yes, James — who's now moved in local bands from ska to pop punk to emo to something more like good, old-fashioned rock and roll — seems to be telling us he's all grown up. Look for the next album to ring in his mid-life crisis. ^

LUCK | Released by Worried Well | with the Box Tiger + Forget, Forget | at the Big Easy, in Portland | May 3 |

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