The Ropers

All the Time

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This D.C. area quartet throw a delectable curveball on their debut LP. They haven't completely abandoned the glorious, chunky guitar-pop of the self-titled six-song EP, as much as toned it down subtly, bringing out a more spiritual side. Now it seems they are content to let the bass do more of the talking, New Order style -- in fact, the excellent single off the LP, "Revolver," hints mightily of that band's 1985 Lowlife hit "Love Vigilantes" -- while the guitar softly knells and whispers along side it. Fortunately, the tunes and the delicate playing are so strong that this only makes the Ropers an even more interesting band. Besides, on tracks such as "You Have a Light" and the wonderful "Revolver" especially, they have a reaching quality that can be powerfully stirring. Light touches of cello add a mournful element, and one track breezes into the next as delightfully as the last, thanks to Ultra Vivid Scene honcho Kurt Ralske's flowing production (perhaps he's forgiven for the first Lotion LP), capturing the unsullied, clean sound. Last of all, "Drive" compares favorably to the slower, more dirgy tracks by Ride (think "Nowhere"). All the Time is a surprising, unassuming little marvel, one of the best 1995 indie-America produced.

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