Snowdogs

Deep Cuts, Fast Remedies

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The sophomore effort from this multinational power pop trio (guitarist Ville Leppanen and bassist Mat Leppanen both hail from Finland but were educated in the United States before settling down in England, while drummer Benjy Reid is American) is another bracing blast of jackhammer rock & roll that offers everything it should: nimble but heavy four-on-the-floor beats, crunchy but agile post-punk guitar, soaring melodies, and tight harmonies. Imagine if Green Day weren't afraid to sound smart, or if the early Police had better production and hadn't been so intent on sounding smart. Snowdogs keep your interest up by means of both irresistible hooks and surprising stylistic change-ups: the drum loop that underpins the mid-tempo "Freedom for Everyone," for example, or the mainly acoustic "End of the World," or the slightly country-flavored "Lotta Lost Time," which gets prettier every time you listen to it. And for real exotica, you've got a dark, bitter version of Paul Simon's "Boy in the Bubble" and the ska-punk "Hour of Sunshine," complete with horn section.

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