Don’t make the mistake of starting Lock & Step at a low volume. The opening title track is an all-out, two-minute, raised fist to the big riffs of ‘70s rock n’ roll and it might just give you the wrong impression of The Lower Companions. The six songs on Lock & Step, the band’s second release, stride through folk rock, pop rock and hard rock, all with equal confidence and crisp musicianship. Medicine Hat shows off the laid-back influence of Wilco, while Angular Mischief bursts with the pop rock energy you can expect from Sloan or Nada Surf. The raw quality of Jason Maas’ vocals bring to mind Constantines’ Bry Webb on such heavier tracks as Lock and Step and Watch What You Tell Her, but provides a more intimate vibe to Bracket and the slow burning Messenger. The sting of this disc’s brevity should push you to see them live.