Of all the recent dreampop exponents, few have demonstrated the pop side to the genre better than LA's The Meeting Places. Described as a sophomore release, 'Numbered Days' continues the good work laid down by its predecessor 'Find Yourself Along The Way' but here its ten songs are blended more seamlessly. Once again, all the elements of the group are equally important, from Dean Yoshihara's relentless drumming, to Arthur Chan's exploration of glum rock on bass, to the twin guitar assault from Scott McDonald and Chase Harris; the latter providing his distinctive ghostly voice.
'Until It's Gone' and the title track are perfect examples of what amounts essentially to pop music but now it's immersed in even darker colours. The sleevenotes support this with the My Bloody Valentine-esque 'Sink Into Stone' apparently documenting the events that led to a family member's suicide. Yet despite the air of misery, the quartet are wise enough to keep their songs brief and flab-free so a track as bleak as 'Mumble' is cut short before it ends up sounding dirgey. 'Numbered Days' may ultimately lack the immediacy of their debut record but - even though this is a more challenging listen - it confirms them as an act of depth and feeling.