The Earthmen

Fall & Rise of My Favorite Sixties Girl

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Like Ripe, this quintet favors a thick post-punk sound with nice vocals, thrusting guitar lines that counter or buttress the melody (or sometimes shards of wired, ripped-up guitar chords that suggest two guitarists who got fired from their jobs that day), and enough unpredictable turns in their six songs to delight anyone tired of the mold. For example, here's a band with the technique and heart to go from the smashing, manic "Things That Worry Grown-Ups," a seven-minute but quick-tempoed, hold-onto-your-hat space launch, to "Tell the Women We're Going," which begins in a deep, psychedelic quagmire only to deftly -- without showing its hand -- metamorphose into a sighing pop prize, a violin and cello violently entering and dramatically stealing the show. Singer Scott Stevens whispers "But I'm not falling for you again," and rather than sounding trite, against this vine-laden forest of strings it actually sounds like self-knowledge gained. Combining occasional '60s bug-out with '90s production values, and taking in sifter-loads of '80s Australia/America sounds, the Earthmen are actually out of this world.

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