Chomsky

Let's Get to Second

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It's easy (and frankly, a little lazy) to compare Chomsky to late- '70s XTC, but the reality is that much of their own fan base was attracted by their utter similarities. Sean Halleck's yelp is only a half-step away from Andy Partridge's, the skittery guitar work distinctly recalls the jerky paranoia of much of Drums and Wires, and even the keyboard flourishes are straight out of the late '70s. So it goes something like this: If you love the classic XTC of the period from Drums and Wires to English Settlement, then you stand a good chance of loving this too -- but what about everyone else? Buzz bands like Hot Hot Heat and the French Kicks have brought this style back to the forefront, and fans of the aforementioned will likely be crazy about this, too. Chomsky avoids laying the "retro" flourishes on too thick, and instead of the reckless abandon of a lot of garage rock bands, they opt for precision, delivering some of these cuts with a force greater than what could be achieved with a fuzz pedal. Much of it is quite catchy, too, such as the shimmery, radio-ready "Animal," the smooth respite "Over" (the album's most distinctly melodic song), or "00:15:00," which bemoans the difficulty of being an opening band and having only "fifteen minutes to rock." Perhaps Let's Get to Second's greatest feat is how, at first, it sounds like the work of an XTC tribute band, but after the third or fourth listen, reveals not only its own distinct personality, but also a great deal of subtle traits that differentiate Chomsky from many of their peers. It's a surprisingly strong and assured album, and hints that Chomsky may someday be able to shake off the pesky, if deserved (in all the good ways) XTC label.

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