Tender Idols


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Those aching for a dose of moody, guitar-driven Brit-pop of the Verve/Stone Roses variety need not even leave American soil to get their fix. The Atlanta-based Tender Idols take the most appealing aspects of those bands, add Oasis' chiming guitar crunch, and churn out a tuneful, emotionally charged collection of late-'80s style English rock. It helps that singer/songwriter Ian Webber was born and raised in England, and that the disc is produced by Gavin MacKillop, who also worked with the Church, Shreikback, and the La's. The band plays like a fine-tuned unit, eschewing extended solos for a more compact yet airy sound best exemplified by the '70s Pink Floyd-ish "The Two of Us," a track that is given both acoustic and electric arrangements. Add that to the band's Bowie/Badfinger/T. Rex mid-tempo glam approach, and a set of songs that would fit perfectly into any of those artists' catalogs, and you've got an album that even dedicated Anglophiles would gladly add to their collections. "Losing Controls" adds distorted guitar and a slow, singalong chorus that sticks in your head, like most of these songs, long after the last note has faded. Exciting, unpretentious but cocky in a rock star way, and brimming with electric performances that crackle with jittery energy, the Tender Idols prove that you don't need to come from England to record one of the most melodic and unaffected British-styled discs of 2001.

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