Coheed and Cambria is finally addressing the real world. After a long series of proggy science-fiction concept albums, Claudio Sanchez, the band's singer-songwriter, writes about his own life: new fatherhood, self-doubt, and recent moves around the country. There's more to like than dislike, but this is by no means the masterpiece some early reviews suggested. On the plus side are the acoustic drone of "Ghost" — Sanchez feeling "broken" by his parents and hoping he'll do better with his new son, Atlas — and opening rocker "Island," where he questions his future. On the negative side, though, are the corny love song "Here to Mars" and the eerie "Young Love," where he apologizes to his old house in New York's Hudson Valley for renting it to pot growers who trashed it ("You believed in us, and we broke your trust"). The music was recorded in a Nashville studio with few overdubs, which lends a welcome organic crunch at times. But overall, the consistency is not what it could be.
Steve Morse can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.