Ear specialists will tell you -- stuffing shreds of barroom TP in there to stave off the ringing is a myth. But if you're worried about hearing loss and you stick around long enough, their next breath'll swear you off hearing the Hunches. Yes. No. Shut It., the Portland quartet's 2002 debut, was a tin roof rusted howler of guitar squall and clanging echo. They haven't turned anything down on Hobo Sunrise, and appropriately, they're still on In the Red Records. What is different is the defining behind the deafening. "Droning Fades On" and "Turkey Timer Pinnochio" both introduce a strong guitar lead before the inevitable open hi-hat slam, so listeners can actually recognize a melody. And Hart Gledhill's vocals suddenly have a little feeling, instead of just relying on that monotone microphone delivery that used to count as a take. The latter song especially is a nice leap forward for the Hunches -- it's that contorted shout Pacific Northwest style hitching a ride to "Death Valley '69." Of course, there's still some nonsense on this album. No matter how many times Gledhill screams "I'm an Intellectual," it doesn't make that cut anything more than two minutes of clink-clink percussion and strangulated beating off. And "Compression" seems to bite on tinfoil just because it can. But these passages still work in the larger scope of Hobo Sunrise, because they're positioned alongside a broken neon interlude like "She Was a Surgeon," or "Nosedive," which plays quite cohesive songwriting masterfully off the Hunches' constant jones for aural scrawl. (They don't amp up vacuums and malfunctioning power drills for their health.) Other Hobo highlights include the insane, torn R&B of "When I Became You" (take that, Raveonettes!) and "Too Much Adrenaline," the Half Japanese cover that binds the Hunches to an epoch of American punk that seems their purest (loudest) forebear.