The M's

The M's

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On their eponymous debut, the M's prove to be a downright great rock & roll band owing as much to T. Rex as Spacehog does to early-'70s Bowie. The fact that simmering, fantastical glam is incongruous with the band's contemporaries -- aside from maybe the Darkness and the Everyothers -- makes this druggy, well-crafted record all the more exciting. "Dirty Old Dog" could be right off of Electric Warrior, with its mellow groove and slippery lyrics. "Banishment of Love" sounds closer to mid-'90s Blur (particularly "Dan Abnormal") -- probably due to sharing influences. Like T. Rex circa Warrior, the M's always rock out less than you remember or expect, combining Sgt. Pepper's harmonies ("Riverside") and even a little ELO bombast. This music is simply so buoyant, so enthralling -- just try the anthemic, psychedelic wonder tune "Break Our Bones," for example -- that it launches contemporary pop into the realm of such unavoidably fantastic tunes as "Jeepster" and "Bang a Gong (Get It On)." And it's not all lusty glitz either -- "Holdin Up" is one of the most nostalgic and emotionally resonant songs of the year, almost on par with those masters of the happy-sad paradox, the Flaming Lips. Truly, it's a winning record, and if the hazy, laid-back -- even lazy -- approach suggests that their best work is yet to come, well, all the better.

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