Ann Beretta

Bitter Tongues

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The third album by Virginia's Ann Beretta -- and the band's second full-length in less than a year -- Bitter Tongues finds half of the group's original lineup gone, with guitarist and co-songwriter Leer Baker and bassist Chris Rupp off to form their own band, Sixer, and singer-guitarist Rob Huddleston completely in charge, from the songwriting to the cover art. The results are Ann Beretta's most consistent and enjoyable album yet. For its first two-thirds, anyway. Unfortunately, with 19 songs in 66 minutes, Bitter Tongues wears out its welcome some time before it actually ends. With some judicious pruning -- "MCA" and "FM" cover the same basic themes, and one could have dropped easily, and the sluggish, overlong "Mary" would be much more effective with a faster tempo and about half the playing time -- Bitter Tongues would be a pop-punk treasure. As it stands, it's the best of an inconsistent lot.

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