Officer May

Smoking in a Mirror

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With its blaring rock, songs born from teen frustration, and singer/guitarist Chris Warren's longish, dirty blonde hair and hoarse voice, it'd be easy for most critics to write-off Officer May as a Nirvana wannabe. Sure, the Boston-based trio -- named after a policeman from their hometown -- is a direct descendent of early-'90s punk and grunge, but Smoking in A Minor is grunge knocking on noise rock's door. It makes for an electrifying, discordant album about getting your heart messed with, boredom (growing up in New Hampshire didn't seem to help), and avoiding the nine-to-five daily grind. Bassist Mike Sanders and drummer Jared Croteau help pile on the rock, influenced by the likes of Shellac, Unwound, and Sonic Youth, as Warren's guitar goes haywire during such tunes as the explosive "Time is Taking Its Sweet Time," and the edgy "My Heart the Boomerang." This follow-up to Officer May's self-released debut, Helping Others Help Themselves, can stand on its own. Perhaps when there's a grunge revival, Officer May will be near the forefront.

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