Pretendo

Pretendo

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Guitarist/singer Devon E. Levins and bassist/singer John Castro managed somehow to emerge from their time in the decidedly weird DaoSon For with their pop smarts intact, and thank heaven for that. Now playing as a trio with drummer Stephen Calhoon, Levins and Castro deal in sharp, tight guitar pop that jerks at times like Gang of Four and shudders at times like Mission of Burma, but always keeps its feet on the ground and its hooks in your head. Notice, for example, how the Andy Gill-style slash-and-kill guitar part at the beginning of "Samurai Sessions" gives way to a shout-along chorus before then giving way to Roger Miller-style tone clusters. Notice also how "Cherry Tomatoes" manages somehow to sound like both the early Cure and middle-period Wall of Voodoo. And how the bassline to "Scorpion" sounds like it was lifted directly from Joy Division, while the drum part sounds like it was lifted directly from a James Brown album. Yeah! Then there's the very last track, which is not listed on the program, but offers five minutes of pure (if twisted) pop pleasure. Country Club is a small label, but this album is well worth whatever effort it may take to find it.

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