Is/Is sets an intriguing mood rather than tells a story, which is what the best dream pop does. The Minneapolis band is the soundtrack for thunderheads rolling across gaping skies bursting with gray rain. On the album III, the sun sometimes breaks looseand don't you love that sweet moment? Static guitars fill every crevice of the soundscape with an electric fog.
The first track, "Bomb Me," is a little bland and overall tedious with repetition. Like alt-waver band The Sundays, the Is/Is sound sort of burrows into the back of the mind as your thoughts wander elsewhere. Ambience is fine but not great for active listening, and a few of the songs on this album seem to wisp away. "Loose Skin" and "Shadow," however, showcase effervescent riffs and sassy drum and bass lines, like a good Dwarves song slowed down and shined up, or early Breeders. Sarah Rose's vocals are ghostly and far away. That doesn't stop her from injecting a marvelously serpentine, punk-rock power into her "yeah, yeah" lyrics. "Lie Awake" is the album's seaside road-trip song. The revved-up "Moon Dropping" is fantastically sunny and rowdy, like Blondie's "The Tide is High," only with a gnarlier undertow.
Is/Is plays the VFW Wednesday, May 23, at 10 PM with Colin Johnson, Zoo Animal and Vera. $3.