Restraint is a powerful, often overlooked instrument in the musician’s toolkit. It lends possibility, intimacy, and, paradoxically, a sense of tension that can’t be attained through the brute force of volume, the pyrotechnics of melodic embellishment, or the palpitation of hasty meter. The tricky thing about restraint is that it often walks a fine line with tedium. Effortlessness is the key, and Portland indie pop collective LAKE has it firmly, but gently, in hand. On last year’s debut album, Oh, the Places We’ll Go, Lake hinted at the possibility of a staid hand, insinuating calm in between more upbeat, immediately arresting tracks. With this year’s Let’s Build a Roof, the band delves deep into organic compositions that sprout in your subconscious and deftly take hold, without ever being more overtly assertive than a whisper from across the room. Somehow, these songs manage to attain both a greater degree of sonic complexity, and a stronger sense of simplicity, intimating that restraint itself can be handled with restraint. With Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band and the Beats, Man. Photo courtesy Sarah Cass. NICHOLAS HALL

Fri., Dec. 18, 8 p.m., 2009

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