When Squirrels Play Chicken

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More than a few Replacements fans expressed indifference to ex-Mat Tommy Stinson's last project, Bash and Pop, since it sounded more like a solo venture than a band effort. But those same fans will undoubtedly be more pleased with his new band, Perfect, which is much more focused, and in the expected drunken-Johnny Thunders guitar-rock style. The reason for this sudden refocus was Stinson's discovery of a backing band that excels in that aforementioned style, and has no problem keeping up with him throughout their debut EP, When Squirrels Play Chicken. "Miss Self Esteem" is a lazy yet sincere ballad, while the rest of the mini-album rocks hard. "Makes Me Happy" would sound right at home on a Replacements album, with its sloppy guitar riffing and group vocals. "Sometimes" is more controlled than the other tunes, but soon both "Alternative Monkey" and "Don't Need to Know Where" return the album back to its high energy level. And as a special treat to fans, there's a great, raucous version of Elton John's "Crocodile Rock," unlisted at the end of the EP.

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