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Deckard's debut album suggests that, just as "There'll Always Be an England," as the old song says, there will always be Brit-pop, an upbeat, melodic style of rock that remains chipper and engaging even when the guitars get a little loud or the lyrics a little maudlin. The group's songs have the sound of tracks worked up by a band with lyrics added after the fact (indeed, the music is credited to all four members, with all the words by lead singer Chris Gordon). One hears a whole history of guitar rock in those tracks, dating back to the Beatles and including glam rockers like David Bowie and Roxy Music, with a heavy helping of power poppers like U2. But in the tradition of the Smiths, Gordon has his own agenda as a lyricist apart from the band. He turns the album into a love story that begins with hopeful statements like "What Reason," the lead-off track and first single, proceeds to conflict in such songs as "Still" (which begins, "Put me out of my misery ..."), and concludes with a breakup. His lyrics are full of sensitivity, and he sings them in an expressive tenor which is sometimes supported by string charts that float above the overall rock sound. He finds unusual ways to describe love's eternal conflicts and even injects the occasional surprise, such as "Christine," a first-person account of a transvestite longing to be a transsexual that seems to stand outside the narrative in the other songs. "Well I'm too clever for her anyway," he concludes of his lost lady in "Once There Was a Girl," which may be true though he isn't as clever as writers like Bowie, Bono, and Morrissey, whose ranks he aspires to join. Nevertheless, Deckard's debut is an enjoyable effort within an established tradition, and especially if the group can deliver live, it may indicate a future for them.

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