+/-

10/25/2006 12:00 AM |

If they wanted to, +/- could choose to be an incredibly pretentious band: they play flawlessly in odd time signatures, their sound masterfully balances electronics and good old-fashioned guitars, and, annoyingly, you have to use the Shift key every time you type their name. Yet they manage to write mostly straightforward songs that, despite the fact that they’ve been doing this for over five years, I’m surprised haven’t hooked more Postal Service/Death Cab fans along the way. +/- hasn’t changed much over the course of their last couple records — Let’s Build a Fire actually features a sequel to ‘Summer Dress’ from 2004’s You Are Here — but they’ve solidified their hybrid sound and knack for writing complex, personal songs with surprising twists. Usually this just means a song will mosey along quietly and suddenly get loud at the end (though it’s put to great effect in the lead track, where a rock band pops up from behind a looped swing sample), but it makes for a record that’s as exciting as it is warm.