The Rock*A*Teens

Noon Under the Trees

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    8
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This quick five-song EP from the Rock*A*Teens sees the band finding their knack for grand pop tunes. The leadoff track, "These Starving Heartists," though slow and swingy, will still have a number of fists pumping in the air regardless of its emotive undertone and introspective wordplay. The Rock*A*Teens never cease to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and though at times desperate, each song gleams with hope. As per usual, the Rock*A*Teens conjure up a playful and gloomy combination of jangly guitars drenched in reverb, light keys, and howling but heartfelt vocals. What's impressive is the band's pop sensibility that can often end up lost in such a full, sometimes noisy mix. Chris Lopez and Justin Hughes have an affinity for torch song crooners, '60s one-hit pop groups, and maybe even a little majestic, '70s theatrical rock. The band throws around their influences quite liberally, as "I Don't Eat Sweets" gives a nod to post-punkers the Fall and "To Lady Ben and All Her Friends" has an almost Clash-like quality. Even beyond that, the closing track resembles a rocky Tindersticks ballad. But each song does maintain its undeniable Rock*A*Teens qualities with crashing drums, cried-out vocals, and whimsically loud guitars. Though it goes by far too quickly, Noon Under the Trees is a great tide-over between Rock*A*Teens LPs.

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