The Hal Lovejoy Circus

American Made

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L.A.'s Hal Lovejoy Circus (which contains no members by that name) offers a slightly hip-hop-tinged brand of melodic alternative guitar rock on their debut album, American Made, which recalls everything from post-grunge to Beck to G. Love and Special Sauce to Cake (the band's often ironic sense of humor doesn't hurt the latter comparisons, either). A few smarmy moments aside ("Hot Pants"), it's a promising debut, demonstrating that the band has an affinity for catchy melodies, varied instrumental textures, and, especially, memorable guitar riffs. The album was originally issued on the indie Fish of Death in 1998 and was picked up by Beyond and reissued a year later.

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