Betchadupa

The Alphabetchadupa

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Coming after three increasingly well-received EPs and released just after the youngest member of this New Zealand quartet, Betchadupa, turned 18, Aphabetchadupa is the first full-length release by a band that's unfortunately always known as "the band led by Neil Finn's son." Liam Finn is no Frank Sinatra Jr., however. Despite a superficial vocal resemblance to his father's mellifluous pipes, Liam is very much his own man throughout Aphabetchadupa. Considerably mellower and more melodic than their sometimes noisy EPs, many of the songs on Aphabetchadupa recall the mellow vibe of UK bands like Coldplay and Travis, yet even on ballads like the deeply emotional "Lucy's Song" or "Easy As It Seems," Liam avoids the prevalent trap of sentimental mopiness that ruins so many similar albums. More important, he's got a real knack for writing extremely catchy guitar pop tunes like the sublime first single, "Supa Day," and the sassy riff-rocker "Filthy McNasty." Neil Finn was the same age as Liam when he joined his older brother's band, Split Enz, and remade it in his own pure-pop image; Aphabetchadupa shows that precocious pop smarts run in the family.

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