While the hookline for this new local trio would have to be that bassist/leader Brenda Sauter used to be a member of the later-'80s incarnation of the famous Feelies (and its notable offshoot, the Trypes), even if you didn't worship at the alter of that group (and especially if you did!), Wild Carnation is a revelation. While the persistent, pumping beat and hard-played jangle guitars of most of the tracks here emanate from her previous band -- and from their forerunners, the Velvets (especially), Television, and the Byrds -- Sauter's beguiling voice is perfect for the ultra-appealing pop hooks the group writes as well as the thoughtful lyrics she composes. Trading the occasional Feelies drone for sugar-sweet melodies (yes!) and utilizing the pretty ring of the guitars to maximum effect, songs such as "Wings" are the perfect pop confectionery, too honeyed and delightful to miss capturing your bending heart and too consistently insistent and edgy to be wimpy, kind of like Reckoning-era R.E.M. It's all so well captured with pristine production, with balls to match the heart, too! And though the 12 tracks are largely cut from a similar mode, all seem special just the same on their own. A truly shining, first-rate effort, along with Lotion's and Nyack's early EPs and the last Flower LP, the best release to come out of a New York group this decade, and exceptionally crafted at that! Do not miss.
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