You can’t accuse The Soviettes of simply remaking their debut LP, which is a blessing. The funny thing is that it took me about twenty listens to come to that conclusion. LP II was a slow grow on me. Their debut was instantly glued to my ear. Still in effect: irresistible charm, gleaming punk hooks, infectious energy, and the smart yet partying vibe. Think of a broken, jagged lollipop. Very sweet, but watch out how you approach it. It might poke the inside of your cheek. The Soviettes are still rife with sneaky songs. Until I sat down and read along to “Angela,” I had no idea it was a song about a lady who shoots a man. The infectious “Portland” with the boppy chorus of “Shelly, Shelly” is about an ex-friend who became a dope fiend. The Soviettes also have the uncanny ability to make political statements in serious, yet charming, ways. (For instance, like how the TV news focuses on diet trends and stars instead of world politics, but it’s said in a way that’s like an intelligent friend making a comment instead of a blowhard pounding a podium.) It’s all very conversational. Some changes from the first LP: each of the four members makes more distinct signatures on songs. There are much more varied tempos from song to song, and my only caveat is that a couple of the songs themselves don’t have as complex a texture as the first record. What had me scratching my head at first was that LP II didn’t have instantly recognizable anthems, but that’s okay. When I began listening to it for what it was – a different album by a talented band that’s very far away from painting itself into a corner – I just got down to digging it. Now it’s on high rotation.