Fast Forward Eats the Tape

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The fourth album by giddy Calgary-based pop-punks Belvedere trumps their earlier efforts, not by dumbing down their already pretty dumb (in the Ramones sense of the word) brand of high-velocity, low-impact punk'n'roll, but by upping their incipient melodic skills and -- perhaps counter-intuitively -- also adding just a hint more metal to their sound. Perhaps it's just their shared Canadian heritage, but listening to a big, brash and unashamedly poppy single like "Closed Doors," one thinks of Sloan's increasing fascination with '70s pop-metal. It's not like songs like "All About Perspectives" and "Slaves to the Pavement" sound that much like the great past hits by Sweet or '70s cult faves Candy, but that they have a similar mix of poppy choruses, big guitar riffs and inescapable velocity. Belvedere's earlier records were sub-Sum 41 pop-punk-by-numbers, but Fast Forward Eats the Tape shows what the band is capable of.

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