The Disappointments

In a Bitter Mood

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Recorded with "hiss-o-fonic" recording quality, which is a clever euphemism for incredibly lo-fi, the Disappointments run through a high-energy set of punk-pop, surf, emo, and garage so quickly that the listener isn't likely to notice any recording imperfections. Sometimes sounding like an updated version of the Embarrassment on tracks like "I'm Afraid That You'll Be Afraid of Me," where supercharged melodies and raw instrumental prowess help establish the theme of longing for unattainable females and general social frustration, the Disappointments show a similar fluency in throwback pop tunes. Recalling the golden age of early rock on the shuffling "Lost Cause," a song built on acoustic rhythm guitar and clean electric lead picking while boasting threats of homicide to both of the Everly Brothers, there is little doubt that In a Bitter Mood is meant to be a fun, if not monumental, release. Still, despite their occasionally retro stylings, the majority of the tracks fall somewhere between the uninhibited proto-punk of early Modern Lovers releases and the pop tunefulness of the first Elvis Costello recordings. As an album of spitefully good-natured breakup songs, the album is a success, though the lack of sonic variation and rather juvenile focus of the lyrics does occasionally become a little redundant. Ultimately, numerous bands have made similar albums on much larger budgets with inferior results; however, the sincerity and quality of the performances here are never in question. Overall welcome additions to the geek-pop canon, the Disappointments make awkwardness sound incredibly sure-footed.

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