Laugh Lines

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Though the hook is probably that Laugh Lines is expertly produced by old DB's guitarist Gene Holder, and the drummer is Lyle Hysen, formerly of Das Damen (this Matador Records employee was also in early-'80s New York hardcore band the Misguided), no prerequisite knowledge is required to enjoy this fine pop outing. Holder makes Jim Scheiner's guitars bright, and they ring in the Byrds/Beau Brummels/Nazz-inspired way that Holder's old band used to. But the overall sound is still quite punchy, and the group goes for the take that's the most soulful as opposed to the most in-the-pocket perfect. There are times where the ensemble strays from a groove, but it just makes them more interesting. Meanwhile, the light, girlish sound of Scheiner's voice wraps around the clean, effulgent guitar licks on the best material, such as "Picture" and "Cops." Sweet, solid, nimble, and generally appealing, this Hoboken trio may be tardy for the famed "Hoboken sound" (led by the Bongos), but Viewmaster keeps it alive.

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