It's often said that “it's better to be lucky than good,” and while that certainly holds true in the music industry, it takes a bit of both to really get by. With the circumstances surrounding the release of their third record Pre Language, Chicago's Disappears have received that bit of luck necessary to boost their already outstanding brand of kraut-y noise-rock to new heights.

Now these circumstances are quite unlike most bands. Save for the multiple cases of Johnny Marr slinging his axe with the youngsters, it's not often that you have an out-and-out legend take up shop with a band after their first few records. But such was the case following Disappears last record. Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth fame decided to step in behind the drumkit, profile boost aside, his musical presence is what takes this album to its new heights.

Tracks like 'Hibernation Sickness' really aren't miles away from what Disappears used to do, save for (and I don't know if this is the presence of Shelley talking) a greater similarity to late 80s and early 90s indie rock. On that aforementioned track, frontman Brian Case adopts a mode of talk-singing somewhere in between Thurston Moore and Mark E. Smith and the rollercoaster dynamics of the track can't help but recall the Pixies, albeit with a bit more of a focus on abstraction rather than pop sensibilities. If nothing else, this album has a bit more crunch, as well as a bit more polish than their last two records.

This isn't to say that they've abandoned the krautrock influenced jams entirely, they just seem more focused. The band is as tight as ever on tracks like 'All Gone White', but at a slight three minutes, it is certainly much more instantly rewarding than something like Guider's 'Revisiting'. I don't mean to talk down their past efforts either, certainly those more abstract sounds had their merits, but the more polished sound does Case and company a lot of good. The bassy 'Love Drug' riff is a downright earworm, something that couldn't be said about well, any of their earlier material.

It's easy to see noise rock purists seeing this step up in form as ditching some intangible thing that kept Disappears from the legion of indie rock revivalists, but I'm no noise rock purist and Disappears is no Yuck. These are tracks that while certainly bearing the influence of their predecessors remain artist works of their own. I mean it's hard to imagine Sonic Youth making something so tight and punchy as Pre Language or as groovy as the Strokes-y bassline in 'Fear of Darkness'. It may be that this album isn't entirely groundbreaking, but it's certainly a bunch of well constructed songs that represent an interesting take on a style so often aped in this era and over the last several decades since its inception.