Loud Family

Attractive Nuisance

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While Scott Miller devoted a considerable amount of time on most of Loud Family's albums to slicing and reassembling his songs as if he were running them through some sort of smart-pop Veg-O-Matic, the group's fifth album, Attractive Nuisance, found Miller taking a step back and letting his songs play themselves out in real time for a change. Attractive Nuisance was Loud Family's most straightforward album since The Tape of Only Linda, and while that set found the group edging into a rock-oriented guitar-heavy attack that was something of a departure from Miller's best-known work, Attractive Nuisance was a wickedly arch slice of intelligent power pop whose alternately bracing and pensive melodies, angular guitar figures, and superb keyboard textures harked back to the best work of Miller's previous band, Game Theory. Anyone who longs for the smart, energetic hooks, and emotionally compelling melodies of The Big Shot Chronicles and Lolita Nation will be glad to know that they're very much in evidence on Attractive Nuisance, and the album found Miller and his band playing at the top of their form. Drummer Gil Ray and bassist Kenny Kessel are a subtle, solid, and inventive rhythm section, Alison Faith Levy's keyboard work fits these tunes perfectly (and she sounds great on the two lead vocals she contributes), and Miller's guitar work and singing are, as always, spot on. Stylistically, Attractive Nuisance does less to call attention to itself than anything in Loud Family's catalog, but in terms of presenting great songs played well, it may well be the strongest thing they've released since Plants and Birds and Rocks and Things.

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