HAWAII marks Collections of Colonies of Bees' return to Polyvinyl, 14 years after the under-appreciated Customer, but it might as well be in name only, as nearly everything about the group has changed since then. The unit originally began as a more abstract side venture for guitarist Chris Rosenau and percussionist Jon Mueller, then of post-rock group Pele, back in the late '90s, and they explored a captivating middle ground between glitchy electronics, rambling acoustic folk, and jazz improvisation. Through the gradual addition (and replacement) of other musicians, they became more of a rock band, with a greater emphasis on melody and post-minimalist rhythms. Flash forward to 2018, and Rosenau has remained the group's only constant member, with guitarist Daniel Spack the only other member present on the group's previous album, 2014's Japan-only release Set. HAWAII is a major shift for the group, as it's their first effort to include lyrics, which are mostly sung by new recruit Marielle Allschwang, sometimes as a duet with Spack. The lyrics are poetic, impressionist, and generally quite optimistic and encouraging, but not delivered in a richly expressive tone. While these aren't pop tunes, the vocals do help frame the songs, making them accessible while still maintaining a steady flow, and the average track time is down a few minutes compared to the group's previous few records. The group haven't abandoned the glitchy effects of their earlier recordings, and here they help add a bit of an otherworldly touch to the vocals and guitars. The song's rhythms are somewhere between a gentle pulse and a strong drive, and there's plenty of space left for breathing room. Overall, HAWAII feels like the next step for Collections rather than their magnum opus, but their integration of vocals feels natural, and doesn't sacrifice the free spirit of their music.