Guards of Metropolis


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Unfortunately, many potential fans will breeze past the unpromising band name, generic album title and genuinely lame cover art of Guards of Metropolis' debut album. That's a shame for both band and listener, because Alligator is a crisp, intelligent, mainstream alt pop album, probably the best in that genre since Persephone's Bees' Notes from the Underworld. The most obvious point of comparison for this Portland, OR-based quartet is Garbage, who work from a similar starting point halfway between Nirvana and Blondie, although Norwegian-born lead vocalist Kristen Blix is arguably a less expressive singer than Shirley Manson. On the other hand, the Guards of Metropolis definitely have a better than average handle on the delicate balance between sweet pop hooks and sonic aggression, leaning far more towards the former than the latter. Although the sneering kiss-off "Exhole" and the Liz Phair-meets-Kelly Clarkson "Down" feature the album's strongest choruses, just about every track on Alligator sounds ready for the airwaves. There is no reason why this album couldn't be huge -- other than the ones mentioned above in the first sentence. Still, this is at least going to end up one of 2007's most deserving unheard treasures.

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