Golden Bloom

Fan the Flames

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Massachusetts' Shawn Fogel plays everything here, though he has a live band. Fan the Flames sounds more like an idiosyncratic mix of brassy power pop and classic mod-pop (รก la Secret Affair), with twinges of '70s singer/songwriter succulence and '60s Baroque/soft-psych, than the early Wilco to which he has been compared. Alone, the scraggly-haired, bearded, mustached Fogel sounds like the tightest band in Chowder-land (figure that), rendering ridiculously refreshing, breezy, hospitably-hooky tunes such as the Todd Rundgren-esque piano-pop prize "Dead Petals" and the late-period Jam-jaunty "Doomsday Devices." Among a well of lyrical dissatisfaction, there's also this chorus refrain from the 1966 Zombies/Beatles-like "If You Believe," as utterly hopeful as Nada Surf's best.

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