Full Fathom Five

Multinational Pop Conglomerate

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One might expect a band named after one of Shakespeare's most famous passages (a song from The Tempest) to be a pretentious band of fops, but Iowa City's Full Fathom Five were hooky punk-poppers in the Husker Du tradition. Guitarist Eric Melcher's lyrics are thoughtful and literate, if a little mopey, and the songs are catchier than anything Green Day or any other '90s punk-poppers ever managed. The trio move from Buzzcocks-like speediness (the terrific "A Little Hope") to slower and moodier material ("Talking About Business") with ease, and the variety of tempos mostly makes up for the fact that it sounds like Melcher didn't change his amp settings or effects pedals once during the whole session. The judicious use of keyboards (by Melcher and bassist Dave Stephenson) and a horn section on the ultra-catchy "She Lied" also help add a little much-needed sonic variety. At 16 songs in 46 minutes, Multinational Pop Conglomerate is maybe a little long, but it's an impressively ambitious album. Unfortunately, Full Fathom Five broke up shortly after its release.

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