Cats & Jammers

Hurray for Everything

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Although punk and new wave ruled the late 1976-1979 underground, a new, louder power pop explosion also was born, the instant wunderchild of both parents -- only with more of a '60s base than either. Whether the Rubinoos, the Nerves, the Pointed Sticks, Barracudas, or the more mod-based English axis (the Jam, Secret Affair, Purple Hearts, Jolt, etc.), a flood of wired groups poured the same kinetic energy into sugar melodies and tight and happy riffs. Chicago's Cats & Jammers do it as well, in spades, only with a solid '90s indie pop base. The first thing you notice is Eric Chial's knockout bass runs, an essential component if you're going to wow instead of merely tread boards in a well-known form, though Scott Anthony's hyper-guitar keeps up with him. Anthony's six-string sound is surprisingly clean (maybe a little more soot would be nice), but it's also crisp, almost as amphetamine-rushed/busy as the Wedding Present, only his sunny melodies are for kick-ass pop kids to hum (and his voice is a little like Let's Active's Mitch Easter, only thicker). Really, really sharp stuff. All 13 songs kick!

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