The Woodentops

Giant

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    9
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This album, the group's best, explores a wide range of variations on the band's signature manic pop style, here adding occasional marimba, trumpet, accordion, and strings to the mix. The nervous single "Get It On" is presented in an intricately redone version, an improvement over its appearance on Well Well Well. Other great jittery numbers here include the frantic "Love Train" and "Travelling Man," as well as the stun-level manic "Shout" and "Hear Me James." The midtempo numbers here are generally excellent, especially the warmly expressive "Good Thing" and the lovely, loping "Give It Time." "Last Time" is a sadly yearning number with some odd touches that nearly undermine its mood, while "So Good Today" is a breezy, accordion-dominated selection that shamelessly flirts with wimpiness and only partially escapes. "Everything Breaks" manages to combine martial drums, funk guitar touches, a ringing arrangement, and production-number aspirations into one very effective package. There are also two songs that are just plain wacky fun, the nerdy Devo-inspired number "History" and the hiccuping fiddle-flecked song "Love Affair with Everyday Living." Production values here are utterly inspired. If you like pure, bouncy pop, you'll love this release.

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