The Blue Hysteria

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As a pop album, The Blue Hysteria seems a bit like a letdown after the from-all-directions assault of Introducing Happiness. It seems like some of the edges have been sanded off along the way, but in reality it's a more focused and mature affair. There are a bunch of biting lyrics, a lot of great playing, and the usual measure of whimsy (especially "Four Little Songs"). Martin Tielli turns in one of his best vocal performances in the epic "A Mid Winter Night's Dream," and the hidden track recounts Dave Bidini's experience as an audience member at many life-changing rock concerts. Even if the rest of the album seems disappointing initially, these last two tracks make the album worth seeking out.

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