When indie-rock radio embraces a song before a band has even released a proper full-length — which is what happened to Lovedrug and the ethereal "Down Towards the Healing" — it's easy to think the group is riding high on musical Easy Street. But instead of resting on its laurels, the Cleveland band is hell-bent on constant evolution. Its 2004 debut, Pretend You're Alive, came across as an emo-pop knockoff of Sunny Day Real Estate, while the new Everything Starts Where It Ends offers a more substantial challenge in the form of crescendoing guitar dreamscapes, symphonic swirls, and nary a hook in sight. So forget radio airplay: Lovedrug is doing things on its own terms. And if the band gets its way, uncompromising art-pop just might be the new post-punk.

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