This Charlotte band emphasizes the “alt” in alt-punk to come away with a darker, more cohesive second LP. The record starts with “Use Your Words,” a melancholy buzzbin hit born twenty years late. Then come a couple six-minute songs as the first side slows and slips into sad lethargy. Things pick up on the flip, as Late Bloomer shines mid-’80s Hüsker Dü, Replacements, and Sonic Youth through their own dark lens, winding up with an album that recalls Dinosaur Jr.’s Without a Sound in atmosphere, aesthetic, and the fact that the hits are front-loaded. Excellent cover illustrations by Michael Muller.
–Chris Terry (Self Aware)