The Hunter And The Fog, released in April, is the sophomore release from Albuquerque's Cherry Tempo.

The band intended a short production schedule, but according to bassist Jasper Schriber, "We wound up spending nearly 100 hours on each song, and even then we weren't happy with all of them and wound up dropping a couple."
While it is poppy, the album (available as a free download from departs from the band's sugary-sweet self-titled debut from 2006. Cherry Tempo's members have grown both as musicians and as songwriters.

It's clear they love groups like Built To Spill, Smashing Pumpkins and Cap'n Jazz. Album opener "Electrickery" begins in true indie rock fashion, before segueing into full-on Pumpkins-style rock 'n' roll on the part of guitarist and singer Javier Romero. He shouts with passion, "It's a shame you never learned!" The bass stays smooth and drummer Will Phillips gets all Jimmy Chamberlin on our asses.

The album's highlight is "I Was A Tugboat," an odd and haunting melody with expert drum work and off-kilter backup vocals. I found myself listening to this song again and again during my time with the album.

There are standout tracks on the album, but it's not for everyone. At times, the band jumbles its influences and struggles to sew together too many styles. A second album is always the hardest, as any band worth its salt strives to bring something fresh to the table. The Hunter And The Fog is a stepping stone for Cherry Tempo, but it's an excellent one. SFR caught up with the band to discuss what's new and good.

You used to be a four-piece. Is it harder with only three?
Jasper Schriber: We became a lot tighter without Dave. We're more of a unit. There are songs we can't play without him, but we still go for it. Everything is more about the three parts going on. And it's a tighter live show.
Javier Romero: Sometimes I miss having two guitars, but recently I think the songs have gotten closer to their basic essence.

Can you talk more about what took so long on this album?
JR: I think there was a certain amount of perfectionism that developed during the process.
JS: We started the album in 2006, and it took us this long to be happy with it. There was a lot of emphasis on this being a total studio album.

What's next?
JR: We've got about seven new songs recorded which are leading more towards the poppy side. After our experiences with this album and being a four-piece, simplicity is our new motto.
JS: We're touring in June, and we'll see what shape the music takes.

Cherry Tempo
9:30 pm Friday, May 29

El Paseo
208 Galisteo St.