My Teenage Stride

Ears Like Golden Bats

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There are two ways to look at a band like My Teenage Stride. You could say they are guilty of robbing the sound of a bunch of genius bands they have no hope of ever topping, or you could say their sound is a successful synthesis of many strains of indie pop music of the last 20-plus years that ends up sounding unique and fresh. (A partial list of the bands and sounds includes Orange Juice, New Order, the Trash Can Sinatras, the Go-Betweens, the entire Sarah roster, C86, shoegaze, and the Postcard label.) On their debut album, Ears Like Golden Bats, the band falls somewhere in between. It's true that you can go through on a track-by-track basis and do some pretty serious trainspotting ("That Should Stand for Something" is late-period Jesus and Mary Chain, "Ears Like Golden Bats" is Josef K, "The Genie of New Jersey" is the Field Mice, to name a few spots), which can get distracting,. It's also true that the band has used their obvious influences well and come up with quite a few memorable songs like the propulsive "To Live and Die in the Airport Lounge," the hugely hooky "Reversal," and "We'll Meet at Emily's." In the end, strong songs like these, Jebadiah Smith's melancholy but not mopey voice, the raw and echoey production, and the band's unflagging energy amount to a free pass on the plagiarism charge this time out.

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