In 2002, singer/songwriter Neil Gust found himself untethered. He was frustrated by a career marked by the “could have been” promise of Heatmiser, the Portland indie rock band he formed with Elliott Smith. The band was a vital institution unfairly reduced to a footnote in Smith’s broader story.Following the breakup of Heatmiser, Gust formed No. 2. The group’s No Memory was released in 1999. After bassist Gilly Ann Hanner (Calamity Jane) departed, Gust recruited bassist Jim Talstra (The Minus 5) to join him alongside drummer Paul Pulvirenti.With What Does Good Luck Bring?, the second album by Gust’s rock & roll band No. 2, he confronted the bummers of 30-something malaise head on. A charged pop record blending British Invasion melodies, bold choruses, and chiming power pop, it’s an album defined by battered strength, a document of personal realization in the face of disillusion.Familiar guests stopped by too. The LP features contributions by Joanna Bolme (The Jicks) and Sam Coomes (Quasi) and Jealous Butcher’s 2017 reissue — presenting the album on vinyl for the first time — also includes the bonus track “Who’s Behind The Door,” an unreleased recording which reunites Gust with his Heatmiser bandmate Elliott Smith and drummer John Moen (The Decemberists), offering a taste of what future collaborations could have sounded like if not for Smith’s passing in 2003 “I just wanted to get epic,” Gust says of the album’s scope. “My favorite records are these worlds that you dive into. They’re cinematic. I listen to them over and over and over. That was what I wanted to make; I wanted to make a record where you had something to unpack.” Fifteen years after its initial release to little fanfare, that ache still resonates. Both exuberant and bruised, the album’s unafraid to confront reality honestly. Like Gust proclaims on “More More,” “The truth is so much better than the bullshit I was told.”What Does Good Luck Bring? is the sound of that truth in song.