I’m a sucker for layered synths and choppy beats, and The Postal Service’s Give Up delivers in spades. Like Lali Puna or Tree Wave, The Postal Service’s music takes electronic pads and drums that once represented the death of “real” music and uses them to create an organic sound with a spacey, ethereal feel that you can just float along with. When you put Give Up on your walkman (or iPod, or portable digital music player, whatever — they’re all just walkmans to me), it makes riding the bus feel like a melancholy movie montage, at once sad and ecstatic.

On the other hand, I’m still trying to figure out whether it’s a good or bad thing that one of their main influences seems to be The Human League, one of those 70s/80s electro outfits that people cite when they complain about the dehumanizing effect of synthesized sound on pop music. It didn’t help that their big hits, “Don’t You Want Me” and “Human,” painted pictures of unpleasant jerks in unhealthy relationships.

Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello’s characters aren’t quite as unlikable as those of The Human League, but they’re still kind of annoying. Their songs exhibit some of the same propulsive urgency that Silent Alarm displays, but instead of the loud, outward-looking lyrics of Bloc Party, The Postal Service is quieter and more inward-facing, concerned with personal relationships. Actually, they seem to mostly be concerned with how often they’ve been dumped and how they’re going to get their girlfriends back. Sung in Gibbard’s reedy voice (with some guest female vocals on a few tracks to round out the Human League-ish feel), the songs have the character of a guy who doesn’t get the point of a Dear John letter and keeps on sending replies. Listening to the album should be a mellow, relaxing experience, but the lyrics make you just want to smack these guys upside the head and tell them to move on, already.