Five years after the release of their much-acclaimed second album, You Can Listen, You Can Talk, and seven years after they burst onto the scene with their iconic self-titled debut, Carsick Cars is finally releasing their third album, 3. For the new album, songwriter Shouwang has jettisoned the hard riffs of his earlier style to create sophisticated, shimmering songs, still based on his trademark drones and deceptive rhythms, and showcasing more than ever the extraordinary guitar playing that has characterized all his music. Like both of his previous albums, the music rests on Shouwang’s intense, pop-inflected song melodies, which he and bassist He Fan and drummer Sun Heting, both of whom joined the band in 2011, tear apart in music that veers from repetitive, intricate drones to complex mood shifts. An early online song released from the album shot almost immediately to #1 on Douban, the leading Chinese online site for music, and it is pretty clear that this album, probably the most sophisticated the band has yet put out, will also be the most accessible and loved of their work to date. With each album showing a different level of maturity and skill, 3 is almost certain to be remembered as one of the most important Chinese recordings of this decade and will point to the new directions and further rapid development of China’s most influential underground band.