The Resonars

No Exit

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Over the course of a couple decades, Matt Rendon has quietly assembled a catalog of great garage rock-meets-power pop albums under the name the Resonars. Working in his Arizona home studio he single-handedly crafted albums on a trusty four-track recorder, getting a sound that's lo-fi but has all the punch that's often lacking from a traditionally made album. No Exit is another great record that combines the walloping power of the Who with the instant hooks of the Creation and the guitar overload of the Raspberries, topping with the insistent vocals and lush harmonies of groups like Shoes or the Rubinoos. No Exit is a little different than most Resonars albums since Rendon brought in members of his live band to play on some songs. Johnnie Rinehart plays drums on half the tracks, Ricky Schimo plays bass on a song, and Rendon even lets Travis Spillers take lead vocals on the snappy, Motown-inspired "Gotta Get Out" since it's out of his range. Despite the presence of these interlopers -- and the small improvements Rendon made to his studio -- No Exit is another home-cooked, perfectly baked album that fits right in with previous albums. It's loaded with brilliant songs, from the jangly Byrds-ian "Days Fade Away" and heart-tugging minor-key ballad "Dull Today" to the pulse-quickening power pop rush of "Louise Tonight" and the beat-group peppy "Fell Into a World." Rendon claims to have had something akin to writer's block -- which helps to account for the many-year gap between Resonars records -- but by the time the tapes were rolling it's clear he had conquered it. He certainly was in full control of the sound, too. Each song has an immediateness that's welcome in an age of gauzy production techniques, the arrangements are simple but powerful, and the guitars have a majestic crunch and chime that is hard to get at any price point. Rendon seems unable to put a wrong foot forward, and even after doing basically the same thing for so many years, the Resonars have yet to sound even a little tired. No Exit can be counted among their best work, which is saying a lot.

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