“Everyone's a Capulet … what makes you think you're Juliet?” That clever reference to Shakespeare's “Romeo and Juliet” comes from Battle Alaska's “Everything's Roses,” an I've-had-enough-of-your-crap break-up song where about all that's left of the flower is a stem of thorns. That's also a summation of the rest of the lyrical content in this concept album that tells a story far too complicated to go into—let's just say that it's sort of a scorn-and-retribution tale.

As such, it gives lead singer Zac Woodring lots of opportunities to spit out vitriolic comments like, “It's your nails with French tips as they dig in my skin/It's a message in lipstick, you misspelled ‘just friends.'” Woodring plays the putout soul to the hilt, and the songs are arranged perfectly to complement that; thundering with anger here, sobbing with self-pity there.

Whether you figure out the storyline or not, this is good stuff.

Grade: A