Modern Museums

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The second album by Sportique dispenses with the country-ish and folk-ish tendencies of 1998's Black Is a Very Popular Colour in favor of an all-meat, no-filler overload of the other side of the band's musical personality: manic, angular post-punk heavily indebted to Wire, the Buzzcocks, Magazine, and the Gang of Four. Focusing on Pink Flag-like brevity (ten songs in barely 24 minutes) and a Buzzcocks-esque melding of aggression and sweet pop hooks, singer/songwriter Gregory Webster has created an album that is on the one hand, utterly derivative (there is not one song here that can't be traced back to an obvious source), and on the other, completely wonderful. The band (Webster, keyboardist Amelia Fletcher, bassist Rob Pursey, and drummer Max Flunder) all have roots in the late-'80s British indie scene, which was itself directly inspired by just this sort of post-punk guitar pop, so Modern Museums sounds oddly like a case of double nostalgia; the driving, insistent "Cerebral Cortex" in particular strongly recalls Webster's glory days in the Razorcuts, and "Definition '79" is practically a call to arms for those who remember the excitement of the early U.K. indie scene. The best, though, is the hectoring title track, a sneering put down of the current British art scene set to an antic start-stop rhythm that recalls both the Au Pairs and Chairs Missing. Nothing new, then, but Modern Museums is a delight regardless.

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