“The Lion the Beast the Beat” is the fourth, and by far best, studio album by this band, which has finally allowed itself to try new poses and found give where previously there’d been only stiffness. By turns it’s eerie, skittish, bruising and panting. And it touches on plenty of new sounds. On “Never Go Back” the band’s chilly strut recalls Blondie; “One Heart Missing” recalls Kim Carnes; and the title track even suggests a hint of the art-rock churn of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs (until it shifts directions halfway and begins to sound like a Bad Company cover band, one of a handful of egregious missteps on this album).
Ms. Potter, always a strong singer, is now a dangerous one too, finding a tone that’s ragged and loose on “Keepsake” and “Runaway.” On “Loneliest Soul” she peels off the vocals slowly and alluringly, letting each line settle in before starting the next.