Generationals’ first two albums were unabashedly, painfully indie-rock. Jangly guitars, the sporadic new-wave synth, the bleary-eyed melodies of Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer: They were so ingrained in the tools and tones of their own musical culture, they tended to get lost in the shuffle — sturdy songwriting ultimately rendered anonymous.
Heza, the band’s vibrant third release, doesn’t suffer that same fate. The New Orleans duo have completely expanded their sonic palette, branching into some fascinating new directions: “Say When,” with its tongue-tied percussion and sputtering sequenced synths, sounds like New Order on a beach vacation; “Put a Light On” is adult-contemporary funk, bolstered by electronic loops and digital handclaps; “Kemal” is the biggest head-scratcher (and maybe their best song ever) — a barrage of stabbing reggae guitar, sweaty hand drums, and twinkling glockenspiel. Even when Generationals settle for safe, predictable indie-rock tropes (the surf-rock wash of opener “Spinoza,” the crunchy chug of “I Used to Let You Get to Me”), they’re finally doing it on their own terms — with quirk and personality.