Even in Blackouts

Myths & Imaginary Magicians

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Despite its title, Myths & Imaginary Magicians is not affiliated with Magic: The Gathering. It is the debut release by the pop-punk sextet Even in Blackouts, a group that performs entirely on acoustic instruments. Ex-Screeching Weasel bassist John "Jughead" Pierson assembled EIB around the idea of purity, in the sense of a sound unfettered by distortion or the headaches of playing in clubs, as well as in the band's members. Pierson is a punk rock veteran, but the others in Even in Blackouts are barely old enough to rent cars. Liz Eldredge had never even performed with a band before her installation as EIB's lead vocalist. The end result is a sound somewhere between Velocity Girl and the Smugglers.

While Pierson's rhetoric is respectable, his wordy songs tend to outpace the talents of his vocalist. Despite some powerful pipes, Eldredge's range is limited, and at times ("Summer Comes," a forced version of Weasel's "Hey Suburbia") her voice, coupled with the acoustic format, makes Even in Blackouts sound like a very eager high-school pep band. But with three acoustic guitars, an acoustic bass, and a full drum kit, Myths & Imaginary Magicians can certainly kick up some dust. "If Leaving Were to Be So Easy" and "27 Seconds of Flame" are rousing head-bobbers, and a cover of the Operation Ivy anthem "Knowledge" is successful in a church group sort of way. The album's sameness eventually diminishes its tunefulness, but Myths & Imaginary Magicians is, for the most part, a pleasant diversion.

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