The Martinets

New Stories for Men

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Something of a second-string supergroup of the New York indie scene -- Dave Rick was one of many bassists in Yo La Tengo and was part of nearly every band on the Shimmy-Disc label, and rumor has it that lead guitarist Daniel Rey actually played all of Johnny Ramone's guitar parts starting around 1981 -- the Martinets don't particularly sound like any of their former bands. Their second album is an odd mixture of surprising covers (Billy Childish's "We're Gone!," the 13th Floor Elevators' "Levitation") and competent, but rarely inspired, originals, mostly penned by singer Eammon Bowles. The best of the lot are "Your Avid Output" and "My Beautiful, Limited World," which both sound rather like a cross between the late-'80s jangle pop incarnation of the Feelies and a less ramshackle version of the Liquor Giants. The best of the covers, a Rickenbacker-riffic take on the Kinks' "This Is Where I Belong," sounds so much like the Liquor Giants that it's mildly unseemly, and like the rest of the album, it's a diverting, but finally, unexciting listen. New Stories for Men is not a record one feels compelled to put on, but once it's on, it's pleasant enough to keep listening to.

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