True, Show Your Bones is a slab of acoustic-electro rock purposefully removed from the group's sloppily brilliant full-length debut, Fever to Tell; yet only the most fickle of fans will be turned off. Karen O still moans, squeals and vamps with meticulous care, only this time she hosts a greater ratio of tunes drenched in destitute longing, all splattered with Nick Zinner's ringing guitar lines, Brian Chase's chaotically syncopated drumming and the electronic sheen of producer Squeak E. Clean.
"Maps," Fever's somber, MTV-endorsed masterstroke, has two carbon copies this time around. The mawkish "Cheated Hearts" sounds forced, while "Dudley" is a genuine shimmering anthem. Although "Cheated Hearts" plays, and succeeds, as a guilty pleasure, the album does boast two duds: the laconic "The Sweets," which makes a last-ditch effort at noise/redemption, and the droll and aimless "Warrior," which simply concedes to being half-baked.
Nonetheless, with the hurt grandeur of "Turn Into," the dance-funk stomp of "Honeybear," the shimmy shuffle of "Mysteries" and the spiraling squall of "Way Out," the album's successes outshine its defeats. The group dodges the sophomore slump in favor of the sophomore slouch: slack, messy, tormented, inconsistent, but heartfelt.