Spokane is not for people who want to belong to something. On Measurement, their fourth full-length, a shift emerges from the terse, melodic strings that have marked their previous recordings, to a sparser terrain occupied by long, empty spaces and tenuous ambiences. With the addition of Robert Donne (Labradford, Breadwinner, Cristal) on bass, Rick Alverson and Courtney Bowles reduce their songs to an unsentimental narrative, stripped of excesses, resisting the grandiose crescendo that has become so popular in thematic and orchestral music. On “Temporary Things” Alverson and Bowles hollowly imbue the phrase “Should we talk about something else” with an unsettling domestic familiarity. “Addition”, sung solely by Bowles, searches relentlessly for an accountable presence: “There’s something you’re not saying”. And “Protocol” evolves from dependable clockwork into a harrowing, indecipherable whine. In its subtlety and patience Measurement vacillates between the vulnerable and the cold, between resignation and meek defiance, ultimately assuming its own unique place of surety and quiet definition. On “Cities”, a couple laments “Oh Convention / The willing wait out on the lawn / I never wanted to be one / I never wanted to be one”. Undertaking the sort of fragile examination the “closed-space” novels of Samuel Beckett explored, Measurement takes the minutiae of daily life and magnifies it. Mixed by Brian Paulson (Slint, Uncle Tupelo, Wilco). Recorded by R. Alverson and Bryan Hoffa.