The Ocean as Mistress' sophomore release Insulation Resistance Test Record finds the group strengthening the aspects that have been at the core of their sound since 2003's glistening In Ruins won the band comparisons to Death Cab For Cutie's Transatlanticism, and San Francisco's legendary Red House Painters. For this album the trio sought to turn up the rock intensity so they hired veteran engineer Steve Albini to assist the band in creating what will surely become an indie rock masterpiece. The songs often start off with gentle melodies that gradually swell up like waves that crash onshore with vibrant, hard-rocking intensity - album opener "Signal Fires" and album closer "A Sufferance Exhausted Then Refilled" are perfect examples. "Lossless" documents the loss of hope felt when seemingly strong relationship fails suddenly and unexpectedly - it's not often a singer says to the world: "Your love can't save me," with such conviction. The songs exhibit strong "heartbeats", rhythms that anchor the songs throughout the numerous verses the band combines into a non-repeating sequence ("Frame Dragging" and "Raze The Peninsula"). It's not often that musical qualities like rocking, pretty, and artsy can sit side by side yet remain palatable to the masses, but this is precisely what Insulation Resistance Test Record has accomplished.