BADBADNOTGOOD is a little more than a year off of their collaborative record, Sour Soul, which was done in conjunction with Wu-Tang Clan's Ghostface Killah. The 33-minute opus was celebrated, largely, as a testament to the production skills of BBNG, who absolutely shined in crafting the instrumentals and handling the production. Sour Soul possessed a heavier sound than the Canadian group's previous albums and it certainly seemed to be an interesting sign of what may be ahead. But now, having permanently added Leland Whitty on saxophone, the group has mutated once again, proving themselves to be a hard-to-define and somewhat tricky-to-enjoy group.

It is not that their latest studio record, IV, is particularly hard on the ears. It is actually quite lovely, particularly on the soulful and sensual 'Time Moves Slow,' which has a terrific guest spot from Future Islands' Samuel T. Herring. It is simply that BBNG seems to be pulling at so many threads at once that cohesion can be tricky to find here. It almost seems like IV is composed of select cuts from several different projects.

There are the superb soul cuts, which include the aforementioned 'Time Moves Slow' and the even more beautiful 'In Your Eyes,' which features a stellar feature from Charlotte Day Wilson. There are meandering post-bop jazz numbers like the album's title track. Meanwhile, 'Hyssop of Love' is fairly reminiscent of the group's work on Sour Soul. None of this is an "issue," per se, as it speaks to the diversity of BBNG's interests and skill set. But it can make for some uneven listening.

The instrumentation here is crisp, clean and beautiful. Matthew A. Tavares' Prophet '08 evokes the best tones of New Order on the record's first two tracks and his keys get even heavier (and dreamier) as the record nears the finish. Alexander Sowinski remains one of the tightest drummers around, handling the kit with aplomb, while Chester Hansen's bass lines give each song a terrific groove. Whitty, the newest addition, provides lovely, though occasionally excessive, fills with his saxophone. When all of them come together at their best, such as on 'Structure No. 3,' the results can be entrancing.

But the fact remains that IV is perhaps a little too ambitious for its own good. Grandiose aims are never to be scoffed at, but considering that IV's highs are so remarkably high and its lows are so forgettable, one cannot help but wish that BBNG had smoothed out the product. This record is still one of the most pleasing releases of the summer, especially for those looking to kick back on a porch swing and fall asleep with some sunglasses on. It is a pretty record, no two ways about it. I just know that I'm more interested in hearing what V will sound like.