Given that most pure pop obsessives seem intent upon living in some time in the 1960s (which means they want to sound like the Beatles) or '70s (which means they want to sound like Big Star), Sex and Reverb's willingness to play around with beats and samples gives their debut album a here-and-now freshness and vitality that sets them apart from their peers. Recorded "in a little room off the kitchen" by Shanti Jones (apparently all by his lonesome), Sex and Reverb's songs boast a lovely sense of melodic flow, but the firm punch of the rhythms and the nicotine-aged edges of Jones' voice add a welcome dash of bitters to the sweetness, and the crunchy guitars of "When I Die," buzzy keyboards of "Six Gun," and walloping bass sound of "Live Wire" not only lift this out of retro territory but give the proceedings the muscle and personality this stuff needs. And like Sid Griffin's Western Electric project, Sex and Reverb shows that the influences of contemporary electronic music don't have to run counter to the notions of classic pop songcraft, and here the trip-hop drums loops and clouds of sequenced sounds work hand in hand with Jones' tunes to create a fusion that's compelling and exciting. Fine stuff that should open up some eyes and ears.
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AllMusic Review by Mark Deming