With their scuzzy homonymous debut EP in 2008, Brooklyn's Crystal Stilts introduced their dreamy breed of psych-gaze noise pop, one oft recognized as having been influenced by Kiwi pop legends like the Clean, the Chills, and even Dean Wareham. Now, on their sophomore LP, their first record since the departure of ex–Vivian Girls/ex–Dum Dum Girls drummer Frankie Rose, the four-piece's obscure pop influences are even more audible. Like other Brooklyn-lo-fi bands of their generation lately, the Stilts are stepping out of the drony, inaudible post-punk shadow to craft more expansive, focused songs. Opener "Sycamore Tree" begins with a soundscape of meandering guitar, foggy organs, and shimmering tambourines before picking up at the one-minute mark with a jangly riff that sends their signature surf-inspired sound into full effect for the rest of the album. It gets spookiest on "Alien Rivers," when one slow, spacy guitar accompanies creeping, minimal vocals. But mostly, In Love with Oblivion
finds the band more upbeat than ever, channeling Flying Nun
–era sounds with melodic riffs, handclaps, and chugging bass. The deadpan singing remains intact, so it's easy to make Ian Curtis comparisons throughout — but this time, the vocals are less buried, so you can actually make out some of what Brad Hargett's saying. And that makes the fuzz pop that much more memorable.