China Drum


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Seven years into their career, these melodic punks from the chicken town (as John Cooper Clarke might call it) of Ovingham-Upon-Tyne (just south of Scotland) finally release an LP after a bracing batch of great import singles (some of which were culled into their first U.S. mini-LP, Barrier). Maybe every band should spend so long honing their skills; Goosefair is as close to spotless as post-Descendents punk-pop gets. Reminiscent of Australia's late the Happy Hate Me Nots and our own Agent Orange, China Drum attack with a super-clean edge, yet with plenty of firepower, and drummer Adam Lee's singing is crystal clear. His voice is nervy, brisk, and committed, and his energetic, grasping harmonies never miss the mark. Best of all, the production just enlivens the humming effectiveness of new tracks such as the blasting "Can't Stop These Things" and the pop-sweet "Last Chance," which compete well with familiar tracks "Biscuit Barrel," "Simple," and the acoustic "Meaning" (which Leatherface covered on their final single). Goosefair is really goosebumps-intense fun, wildly catchy pop, and charged rock & roll. And major-label distribution would have been a fricking marvel a few years ago!

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