Not so long ago, guitar-pop adherents The Rosebuds seemed to be veering too far off the track, following their ambitious-but-muddled techno-pop exercise Night Of The Furies. If nothing else, the band's latest album, Life Like, should reassure longtime Rosebuds fans—those who remember the good ol' days of 2003, when the band revivified the lost arts of jangle and shuffle on their stellar debut Make Out—that husband-and-wife Rosebuds founders Ivan Howard and Kelly Crisp still remember how to write hooks, marry them to offbeat lyrics, and render the results cleanly. The Rosebuds have recorded several strong songs since Make Out, but nothing as instantly catchy and stirring as Life Like's chanting, skippy "Bow To The Middle"—the kind of song people hear once and never forget. The band isn't fully out of the woods; Life Like contains a few too many songs along the lines of "Cape Fear," which tries to stretch an underdeveloped melodic idea with excess clatter. But for the most part, Howard and Crisp have extracted only the best elements from their Furies misadventure, like learning how to use soft, blue synthesizers to shade moody mid-tempo wonders like "Border Guards" and "In The Backyard." The latter in particular is a detailed recollection of literal demon-hunting that would be downright terrifying if Howard didn't make it sound like one of his warmest boyhood memories.