Once again, Calvin Johnson and Dug Martsch have united to crank out some of the weirdest, most oddly danceable tunes this side of King Kong. On The Rebels Not In, the third full-length effort from the Halo Benders, the duo does a much better job of vocal harmonizing than on their two prior albums, trading deep wails for off-key whines in their own unique fashion. Vocally, this record belongs largely to Calvin, accompanied largely by the trademark shimmering guitar work of Martsch. Opening with "Virginia Reel Around the Fountain," the band takes a far-removed stab at the Smiths classic by combining their trademark zany lyrics with melodramatic teenage angst. "Lonesome Sundown" best exemplifies the wonderful creativity that results from the union of the principal songwriters from Built To Spill and Beat Happening. The Rebels Not In is easily their most accessible effort yet, filled with upbeat, weird and wonderful tunes and a beat so catchy it's often difficult to stop your feet from tapping.
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AllMusic Review by Marc Ruxin