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The Loons return to action on CD with a second album that solidifies the band's claim to a high ranking in the neo-psychedelia movement. This is a group that is very specific about its musical antecedents, both in its music and in its visual style. As far as they are concerned, the clock needs to be turned back to the mid-'66 and early-'67 garage rock era, and their largely realized goal is to make music that will fit in seamlessly with such predecessors as Love's and the Electric Prunes' self-titled debut albums, Blues Magoos' Psychedelic Lollipop, the Yardbirds' Over Under Sideways Down, and the original Nuggets compilation. That means loud, heavily distorted and effects-laden guitars, pounding beats, abruptly shifting tempos, and angst-filled, but highly imagistic lyrics. "Hissing whispered ageless sounds / Seeping deep into the ground," sings Mike Stax in the catchy "Follow the Rain," which boasts chiming guitars, and that is hardly atypical of the kind of phraseology he employs. "Your cracked mosaic mind/Is crumbling away/Now you spin concentric rhymes/To an empty arcade," goes the chorus of "Craig Smith?" In a period when the Strokes, the White Stripes, and other bands hark back to similar sounds, the Loons might aspire to greater exposure than will be provided by this essentially self-released effort. (UT Records is an arm of Stax's Ugly Things magazine.) But the band is not so much inspired by mid-'60s garage rock as it is slavishly devoted to re-creating it, and that tends to make them more of what Nuggets compiler Lenny Kaye called an "artyfact" than an original unit.

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