The Small Goods

Listen to the Radio

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Listen to the Radio is the sort of record that frustrates reviewers who are sympathetic to the kind of indie guitar pop this Australian band has mastered. For it's just as hard to say anything new about records like this as it was for the bands themselves to say anything new in this pleasing but strip-mined style by 2003. It's at once ingratiating yet unscintillating stuff in the territory twixt jangle pop and power pop, with guitars both ringing and fuzzy. The influences of the Beatles, Beach Boys, Kinks, Raspberries, and various poppy post-R.E.M. bands abound in the melodies and harmonies, albeit filtered in a rather second- or third-hand fashion. When a record's grounded in such familiar styles as this, it really needs some more individual twists to stand out from the crowd. They're not here, and if they're in the lyrics, it's hard to tell, since -- as is too common in records of this type -- the hazy mix and vocal delivery often render the words hard to make out, even when straining. They've got a nice way with high eager-to-please vocals, and the guitar base gets spiced very occasionally with horns, as well as synths that are so subtle you might have a hard time remembering hearing them.

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