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The Pinkerton Raid's A Beautiful World 

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The ambition of A Beautiful World, the second album from Durham's The Pinkerton Raid, doesn't hide. Its seven songs range from twee charms to pop-rock grandiosity, from doleful dirges that suggest The National to tender folk-rock that recalls Lambchop.

Most of these sounds remain just beyond the young band's mastery. "Just a Boy," for instance, slinks and grinds with bluesy confidence and jagged riffs, though it's let down by sophomoric lyrics—"I was a girl, too young for this/Just a girl afraid of dangerous bliss." The sibling harmonies of Katie and Jesse James DeConto are beautiful, especially when they lift the bright rollick of "April Flower." Still, they can't rescue the aimless melodies that circle through the title track and the darkly cast "Fly Away."

At least most of The Pinkerton Raid's misses are by slim margins, making A Beautiful World enjoyable if not essential.

Label: (Self Released)

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