Baker Man: When We Collide

The six tracks on Baker Man’s When We Collide drift between the rough-hewn indie pop of early REM and the grinding garage punk of Dinosaur Jr. I also hear hints of the Decemberists and Ben Folds, particularly in the lead vocal of songwriter Mike Five on the album’s opening and closing tracks (“What Tradition Means” and “Keeping Score”). The latter of these is a shimmering six-and-a-half minute opus that’s equal parts dreamscape and early misty-morning hangover. Production on the album isn’t slick — nor is it meant to be — but it’s organic and has the feel of a live performance. These are the guys you saw performing in your buddy’s basement or your favorite dive bar in college. Smart lyrics, jangly guitars, and a healthy dose of world-weary cynicism.