Plenty of indie-rock bands might use the occasional orchestral arrangement to flesh out their songs; more still drape their productions in synth symphonies. It’s the rare band that builds the balance of their album around a 15-piece orchestra as Boston four-piece Art Decade has done on its self-titled sophomore effort. The result is, as they call it, symphonic neo-indie classical. Although a push of buoyant strings puts the air in the wings of songs like opener “No One’s Waiting,” this is still at its core a rock ’n’ roll record. “Harbor Light” churns on dirty bass chased along by a piano lead before the strings give an extra charge in a rousing sprint to the finish. “Idle Talk” segues from a gentle strings passage into a hip-hop drum loop broken up by shuddering violin passes, then explodes into a sweetly sung pop-rock chorus. There’s a lot of conceptualizing of genre, and experimentation with form here, but fortunately they haven’t ignored the most important part of any rock band’s arsenal, symphonic or otherwise: the tunes. (Out now)
ESSENTIAL: “Harbor Light”
Luke O’Neil can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.