Sophomore Slump

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Since the "modern rock" of the '90s managed to both make the rock of the '70s sound dated while itself being shallow and devoid of melody, not much is left for the rock fan to listen to except for pop/rock. Which is discontenting, except when an album like Epperly's Sophomore Slump arrives on the scene. Slump contains cheery, upbeat lines delivered with a Pixies guitar sound. Instead of drowning in '80s nostalgia, Epperley is solidly rooted in the '90s, aware of the past but not overawed. In "You're So 1988," the band announces, out of frustration, "It's something I hate/You're so 1988... If I could only wish, I'd make you rock harder." And rock harder they do, while still being more joyous than serious. In "She's a Marine," Epperley reminds us you can be un-PC and honest and still be more fun than rude. Epperley songs boast hooks and the band can even occasionally play without distortion. Tracks like "Crystal" and "Breakups and Shakeups" ring truer then any chart-topper today.

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