Never Let Us Speak of it Again

This record was supposed to be The Big One--the vessel Out Hud would use to sail to the ends of the earth, flying the flag of Dance Power for all ports to see. There was talk of Molly and Phyllis singing more, and about ditching traditional instruments for pure computer disco. But as they say, high hopes have farther to fall. Never is the blandest Honda commercial techno/house EVER. The beats are textbook PC-made boombaps, the vocals are unemotional diva blah, and the song that seemed geared for huge protest statements, "Dear Mr. Bush, There are Over 100 Words for Shit and Only One for Music," is a hookless instrumental. Out Hud's sister band, !!!, are overrated, but at least they take chances. This is just safe. Never let us speak of it again. Ever. ADAM GNADE

Talk Amongst the Trees
(Temporary Residence)

The guitar is the new (old) drone generator of choice for many highly evolved musicians of late. Artists are taking the ax to fascinating spheres of textural/timbral transcendence. Seattle's Eluvium (Matthew Cooper) joins these crafty guitar tone-benders like Fennesz, Rafael Toral, and Oren Ambarchi with his third and best release, Talk Amongst the Trees. Whether he's in elegiac dirge mode ("Show Us Our Homes"), conjuring Gas-like pop ambience ("We Say Goodbye to Ourselves"), or evoking Roy Montgomery's stately, relentless chimes ("Taken"), Cooper induces a profound pathos with admirable economy. DAVE SEGAL

Eluvium plays Thursday March 24 at Loveland, 320 SE 2nd Ave, 9 pm, $8

Silent Alarm
(Vice Records)

If this album were the solution to a math problem, it would look like this: Franz Ferdinand + TV On the Radio = Silent Alarm. And not because FF are Bloc Party's biggest fans, or because Bloc Party are British, or because they have a black singer (à la TVOTR), but because even the lamest cultural clichs occasionally transcend the realm of descriptive expedience and solidify as inalienable truths. The good news is that there are more than enough Vegemite sandwiches to go around on Silent Alarm--even if a few at the bottom of the picnic basket are a little stale. Not only can you get your skinny-tie swerve on via tracks like "Positive Tension" and "Helicopter"; you'll catch your po-mo neo-soul quasi-groove with "Blue Light" and opener "Like Eating Glass," which doubles as the album's sweetest jam. It does go on a bit too long, though: Of Silent Alarm's 14 tracks, the last five are boring exercises in aimless lite-FM almost-rock best left to Terence Trent D'Arby and the fat guy from PM Dawn. No, really. J. BENNETT

**** Apollo Creed
*** Clubber Lang
** Tommy "Machine" Gunn
* Ivan Drago