The Contrast

Fade Back In

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Like Reckoning-era R.E.M., the Contrast invoke rural landscapes where lovers weep over fieldstones and leathery farmers listen to Big Star. Frontman David Reid rolls out streams of pop culture references and wistful romantic angst in an often impenetrable English drawl that owes as much to Tenpole Tudor as it does Michael Stipe. On the Contrast's third release for the U.K. indie Rainbow Quartz, the Peterborough jangle pop quartet expounds on the brooding, guitar-driven sound of 2002's Wireless Days with a winning combination of punchy rave-ups ("Catch the Spark") and hook-filled road songs ("Give Me One More Chance"). Comparisons to Television and Material Issue are apt, but this time around the group leans more toward the angular attack of Spoon and the '60s melodicism of the Smithereens. Fade Back In resonates with the steely confidence of local boys in their milieu, and psychedelic flourishes like the backwards guitar breakdown on "You're Starring Role" and the serpentine chord changes on "Disconnected" show a band that's beginning to come into its own.

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