Portland, Ore's 44 Long keeps to the basics: Americana-bred melodic rock, which looks back to the ‘60s and ‘70s (Badfinger, the Beatles, Neil Young), but isn't a nostalgia trip. Singer/ guitarist Brian Berg doesn't bring anything new to the stew, but that's fine because his deceptively simple, well-crafted songs convey that quality is what counts.

Hangover Heights Part 2 comes seven years after 44 Long's last long-player. Such a lengthy hiatus would kill most groups, yet 44 Long hasn't lost their knack for minimal and muscular music.

The lyrics aren't literature, but Berg never stumbles into clichés that often trap similar songsmiths, and even the most brooding material is loosened by underlying optimism, giving tunes such as wistful “Willing to Wait” and folk-rocker “I Won't Run Away” a straight-from-the-heart conviction. Berg and his band plan to release more woozy-boozy chronicles with Hangover Heights Part 1 later this year.

Grade: B