Why fix what isn't broken? Blue Meridian's second album, "Brave Angel," features more of the tasty guitar pop that made their 1998 debut such a rich listen. The 11 songs (including three live cuts from Sapphire) combine terrific rock hooks and a gritty guitar sound that never fails to deliver the punch. Donovan Lyman's meaty vocals, and some wicked riffing by Manny Rivera, carry the propulsive "Helly" and the sprawling title track, while Kevin Kirkwood's tasteful percussion accents the ethereal "Starlite."
As "Glistening" and "Sugarless" prove, Lyman's songwriting continues to deepen and the band's razor-sharp rhythms and soaring choruses are tighter than ever. The three live tunes include "Counselor," which chronicles a rendezvous with a confused advisor. This is a confident sophomore effort for a band with its eye on the big time.