Nine Ways to Sunday

9 Ways to Sunday

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Nine Ways to Sunday enter the '90s with an undying affection for the preceding decade. The band's self-titled debut from 1990 is almost like an essay on mid-'80s college radio sounds: crooned vocals; jangling guitars; shimmering keyboards; and hyperactive, propulsive drums. Like the Ocean Blue, Nine Ways to Sunday are an American group with an English crush. However, their sound is more stripped down than the Ocean Blue's. Nine Ways to Sunday could be seen as predecessors to Jars of Clay, at least in spirit. As with Jars of Clay, Nine Ways to Sunday perform acoustic rock that transcends the limitations of the genre. "Midnight Train," the opening track, has toe-tapping percussion that quickly snags the ears. "Get Back Home" is as pretty and moody as the British artists -- probably The The or Echo & the Bunnymen -- who most likely inspired it. The lyrics aren't deep or weird like many of the songs from the band's '80s new wave heroes, but they're sung nicely. "The Means Become the End" is a dead ringer for Lloyd Cole, and the synthesizer-laden "I Survive" could easily be mistaken for a New Order rarity. Released a year before grunge kicked new wave and most English music off of alternative radio, 9 Ways to Sunday is a fond farewell to the crystal days of '80s post-punk.

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