Slain by Yatsura

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The second album by Scottish noise-popsters Yatsura (not counting the singles compilation Pulpo!) is much more focused than the scattershot debut, with a less obvious Pavement influence and a newly-discovered devotion to big distorted lead guitar lines and sing-along choruses. That those choruses involve titles like "Glo Starz" and "Slain By Elf" suggests that Slain By Yatsura will be of interest to that segment of Guided By Voices fans who didn't mind when Robert Pollard made the jump up to a 24-track studio with a real producer. Singer-guitarists Graham Kemp and Fergus Lawrie split the songwriting equally, and even more than before, Kemp's songs are a little more pop friendly ("Superfi" and "King of Lazy" are the album's highlights), while Lawrie's songs betray more of a mid-period Sonic Youth vibe. ("Exidor," were it twice as long, would be right at home on Daydream Nation.) That hooks-meet-feedback tension enlivens Slain By Yatsura and keeps it from having the sort of samey quality that made We Are Yatsura and Pulpo! a little tiresome to listen to in one sitting.

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