Dreamland, the sophomore album from Wild Belle, finds the Chicago group immersed in the push-and-pull of a romance on the rocks. On "Giving Up on You," singer Natalie Bergman, who forms the core of the band alongside multi-instrumentalist brother Elliot, offers that she's "never coming back again." One song later, though, she's begging her baby to return.

Dreamland, the sophomore album from Wild Belle, finds the Chicago group immersed in the push-and-pull of a romance on the rocks. On "Giving Up on You," singer Natalie Bergman, who forms the core of the band alongside multi-instrumentalist brother Elliot, offers that she's "never coming back again." One song later, though, she's begging her baby to return.

The music reflects this unsettled dynamic, drifting from the breezy beach rhythms of the band's debut and exploring the rockier surf just offshore. These denser, wilder backdrops suit the subject matter, building on keyboards, saxophone, kalimba, bass and Bergman's vocals, which sound rawer and more urgent here than on past efforts, like a wire stripped of its protective coating. The effect is particularly jarring on "Throw Down Your Guns," a song initially born of emotional disarmament that took on even greater power when the band adopted it as an anti-violence anthem for its bullet-ridden hometown.