A Radio With Guts

Beat Heart Sweet Stereo

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    6
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Brandon Tussey, Chris Griffith, and Wayne Griffith have done a bit of growin' since their days in the punk revivalist prankster outfit the Connie Dungs, as the Charles Bukowski-derived moniker of their latest endeavor suggests. Beat Heart Sweet Stereo reflects the influence of Jawbreaker principally, as Tussey's choked crank delivery suggests Blake Schwarzenbach. But the boys have also gotten better at the melodic craft since the old days. Cuts like "Whiskey Dawn," "Tragic Music," and "Math and the Mocking Moon" don't make lyrical inroads -- it's girls, cheap liquor, and heartbreak here -- but they're muscular songs with big guitar hooks, akin to Social Distortion's later period. Best might be "Eighteen Alive," which with its story of young love, singsongy pace, and riotous "Na na na na"-ing could be a garage band version of the Psychedelic Furs.

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