Beautiful and fragile, and oh so emotional, that's what I am confronted with when I hear the music on the new album from Portland's The Hague. The opening instrumental An Open Book Conversationalist is a sunny day dance of alternative rock that is soft in all the right places. Everyone In This Town leans in with a poppy beat, strings that yearn and vocals that are earnest. It is delightful and touching, like a pleading ode to deliciously unrequited love. The guitar work reminds me of Farside at their softest. I hear shades of Lemonheads sprinkled throughout this album but at times it is more evident than at others, such as the chorus of I'm Sorry, I Thought This Was A City. The clean guitar passages add hints of Gameface when they are being nostalgic. I know I keep throwing references to pop-punk bands in this review when this band is much closer to The Lemonheads, but the lovelorn sensibilities of pop-punk bands keep surfacing in The Hague's music. There is a folk quality to the chorus of the beautifully sensitive Hourglass. A lingering kiss of Sleater Kinney paints itself across the plodding bass lines and vocal pacing of the early portion of the song. Ominous strings are a harbinger to the coming sorrow of His Talk, Her Teeth. I hear the sparseness of early Depeche Mode, but with more organic instrumentation on the song. Black Rabbit is a thing of fragile beauty. It remains more quiet and subdued than it probably needs to be, but that makes the emotional desperation so much more potent I think. If you like soft alternative rock that genuinely yearns then The Hague will certainly tug at your heartstrings.