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Shoes' first -- and with the exception of 1995's live Fret Buzz, last -- album of the '90s largely avoids the trap of overproduction that befell their post-Elektra albums of the '80s, which, in retrospect, sound terribly dated. Perhaps inspired by the new flowering of D.I.Y. bands in the early '90s, Jeff Murphy, John Murphy, and Gary Klebe open up their sound a bit more, turning up their distortion pedals and pulling back on the synths that had colored 1989's Stolen Wishes and 1984's Silhouette. Kicking off with the uncharacteristic Creedence-style choogle of Klebe's "Animal Attraction," Propeller is a little harder rocking than before, with only the winsome "Don't Do This to Me" forsaking the punchy riffs and Cheap Trick-style choruses that permeate the rest of the album. As always, songwriting duties are rigidly democratic, but, for some reason, Jeff Murphy's batch of four are the weakest of the lot, with uninspired choruses and less memorable melodies than his cohorts' efforts.

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