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The Submarines: Love Notes/Letter Bombs (Nettwerk) 

The title of The Submarines' third album is a clear indication of the songs' intent. Consider it music as an ongoing couple's-therapy session.

Husband-wife duo John Dragonetti and Blake Hazard play a refreshing, easygoing electro-pop, with bright harmonies and sweet, folky touches—but the lyrics rush immediately into conflict. It's not as simple as songs of love or love lost; these are songs that trace the oft-confusing nuances of a relationship that's far from settled.

The album's press materials describe the songs as the chronicle of "a couple in a rambling old broken-down mansion, like something from a Wes Anderson movie, pushing flower pots off the balcony onto each other, tying a love note around a brick and throwing it through a window." It's certainly an apt description.

It's said that nobody wants to take a close look at how sausages or laws are made, and while listening to the Submarines, it's tempting to put relationships in the same category. Song to song, there's a pull between the good times and the bad, with what seemed to be a conclusion in one song swept away by another.

In "Tigers," the sentiment is, "Maybe I can never be everything you'll ever need, but I can wrap my arms around you." But in "A Satellite, Stars and an Ocean Behind You," it's, "After 10 years together, we're still 10 years apart." And so it goes.

More by Eric Swedlund

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