Whether you look at the Essex Green in comparison to their fellow Elephant 6 bands, the rest of the Merge Records clan, or simply all the other bands that sound like they’ve been in cryogenic storage since 1968, the Brooklyn-based quintet never exactly towers over its peers. Their plaintive quasi-psych records are always perfectly enjoyable, though it’s easy to see why they might get overshadowed by bands that actually, you know, try new things. Compared to most of the E6 family, the Essex Green eschew any experimentalism or lo-fi aesthetic for a cleaner, more straightforward keyboard/guitar pop sound that leans more towards the New Pornographers than, say, Olivia Tremor Control or early Of Montreal. Just like their previous two records, Cannibal Sea showcases the band as the pop perfectionists they are, from their unfaltering co-ed harmonies right down to Tim Barnes’ unobtrusive Ringo-style drumming. Something less same-y would be nice, but I guess when you have an era’s worth of great music that isn’t broken, it’s good to have someone to count on not to try fixing it.