Ontario’s Constantines have been crafting genre-bending rock ‘n’ roll records for some time now—both “Shine a Light” (2003) and “Tournament of Hearts” (2005), each on Sub Pop, are memorable blends of classic rock and Fugazi-like structuring—and this month’s “Kensington Heights” (Arts & Crafts) might be the band’s best effort yet, brooding and heavy, guitars squealing and warping into one another. Bryan Webb’s tough-guy gruff still leads the Constantines’ charge—this is a voice built for rock music, and it’s finally reached a level of experience that makes it really hit home. The album’s more passive moments, like the powerful “Trans Canada,” offer a slight relaxation period (plus, in this song’s case, benefits from a nice back-up harmony), and then it’s right into the slow build of “Shower of Stones,” a strange marathon that tumbles and wrecks into a lovable mess. Even the pretty “Our Age” recalls the balladry of The Replacements. And for me, it’s difficult to beat that. (Tom Lynch)
Constantines play April 24 at Empty Bottle, 1035 North Western, (773)276-3600, at 9pm. $12.