The Diggs


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Right on time, the early-'90s nostalgia wave started in earnest at some point in 2007, continuing the roughly decade-and-a-half count-back in pop culture that gave us a revival of interest in disco and ABBA right around the same time that the bands that most inspired the Diggs were in their heyday. This Brooklyn-based trio have the good taste to avoid sounding like any one particular band, but the overall feel of their second album is undeniably inspired by those bands on college radio stations in the early Bill Clinton era who didn't sound like Nirvana: My Bloody Valentine and the rest of the shoegazers, early Smashing Pumpkins, a hint of the first Radiohead album, and those unclassifiable bands who were simply lumped under the "alternative" rubric. The guitars are bathed in effects, drummer Charlie Schmid is usually the loudest presence in the mix, and Timothy Lannen's vocals tend towards the quiet and affectless, with occasional leaps into melodramatic angst at the climaxes of songs like the brooding, bass-driven "Brigante." But like many of the second-string bands that suddenly found themselves with major label contracts in the first flush of the alternative rock boom, the Diggs have the sound down pat but lack the songs to match. There are a couple of minor gems here, particularly the urgent, caffeinated jangle of "Carpal Tunnel," but overall, ctrl-alt-del is a somewhat disappointing follow-up to 2005's promising Commute, because under the pleasant surfaces, it's hard for the listener to find much that's memorable to connect with.

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