Shots, the 2008 sophomore album from Kelowna-bred, Vancouver-based indie rock outfit Ladyhawk, was one of those albums that changed my life. That’s not hyperbole; like Arcade Fire’s Funeral or The New Pornographers’ Twin Cinema, Shots, to me, is a near-perfect album. (So, you know, no pressure or anything.)

Happily, No Can Do, Ladyhawk’s third album and first in four years for those keeping score, is another winner. The new record sees frontman Duffy Driediger and co. injecting their fuzzy, rough-hewn, Sub Pop-approved Pacific Northwest sound with a welcome power pop-inflected psychedelia in the vein of  The Brian Jonestown Massacre or The Dandy Warhols (see: album openers Footprints and I’m A Witch, which also happen to be my favourite tracks on the album) — a style perfectly suited to Driediger’s cavernous vocals.

While Ladyhawk still has a fondness for washes of guitar fuzz and distorted, primal howls, No Can Do, on the whole, sounds cleaner and leaner. The hooks are brighter, the lyrics more straightforward, the running time more economical (the record clocks in at a brisk 28 minutes). Gone are the solos and the extended jams, making for a more focused — and, for that matter, more immediate — listen.

For a record that’s barely half an hour, No Can Do is also a satisfying listen — but it’ll leave you greedily wanting more.

— By Jen Zoratti, music editor at Uptown Magazine, Winnipeg’s alt weekly.

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