Bare Wires

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Presentation and context are everything. Because Bare Wires leader Matthew Melton comes from the Bay Area's fertile lo-fi scene, because he once played in drone-jam punk outfit Snake Flower 2, and because his voice gets firmly distorted in a manner similar to contemporaries like Tyvek and sometimes Castle Face labelmates Thee Oh Sees, Bare Wires is a garage punk act. But not only are Melton's ten songs concise -- indeed, nothing on Seeking Love breaks the three-minute mark -- they are also flawless. The latter characteristic owes probably to the band, which includes Nathan Price and Brian Johnson. Melton's T. Rex influence has been well noted, and that's a decent starting point for Bare Wires, who are little more than a classic guitar pop outfit. They are so classic, in fact, that they -- besides the overdriven vocals -- might as well be a slick Los Angeles band created for the express purpose of licensing songs to teen dramas and video games. Melton's lyrical subjects edge on the almost completely generic -- "What's so hard to understand/She would not even hold your hand," he sings on "If It's Over" -- but it's a great breakup song. The energy of these ten songs has little to do with punk and everything to do with the universal themes of pop music. The formulas are a little note-perfect at times, and one might have a hard time finding Melton himself in the lyrics, or finding a place in the music as a listener. But for those predisposed to indie pop, Bare Wires are also very hard to resist. Nor is there any reason to do so.

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