Every copy of Let's Get to Second should come in a Land o' Lakes box; Chomsky's national debut practically drips with butter. Vocal doubling reaches levels that would make Elliott Smith roll in his grave, and the beefy mix sometimes drowns out lead guitar and synthesizer parts. Those changes may catch longtime fans by surprise, but honestly, Chomsky's catchy, '80s-appreciative rock has never fit the lo-fi mold, and in spite of production nit-picks, Let's Get to Second succeeds by matching the band's catchy tunes with studio sheen.
Chomsky's four rerecorded songs gain new muscle with the amphetamine injections they receive on Second, particularly the revitalized live favorite "Sigmund." New songs "Whippoorwill" and "Fine" are inventive, familiar blasts of Chomsky pop-rock, but other new songs sound a little too hungry for ClearChannel airplay. "Doves" overloads on loud, tired guitars, while "Over" kills its slow, Sunday-morning vibe with a fist-pumping breakdown halfway through that recalls Nickelback. No, really. Luckily, Chomsky closes Second with "Circle," a funk-driven epic that lets Glen Reynolds flex his lead guitar muscles in entertaining fashion. The polish on Second wipes away some of Chomsky's charm, but the band's knack for big, smart songs remains not only intact, but stronger. Next stop: Let's Get to TRL.