20 Minute Loop

Yawn + House = Explosion

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The third album by Bay Area five-piece 20 Minute Loop is as willfully quirky as their first two, but while it retains the band's signature tendency to spin out into entirely new directions mid-song, the songwriting and the arrangements are overall considerably tighter than before. Singers Kelly Atkins and Greg Giles used to tend to sing at each other more than with, but the intertwining vocal lines on songs like "Parking Lot" are far superior to their earlier efforts; this time, when the harmonies clash (as on the ominously creepy "Our William Tell"), it's clear that they mean for them to. Similarly, an economy of ideas in the arrangements helps the songs sound full and varied rather than wildly overstuffed. The high-concept kicker comes at the end, with a cover of Hüsker Dü's "I'll Never Forget You" done in mock rock-epic style complete with grandiose horn section, but the ten literate, funny, and offhandedly brilliant songs that came before are what you'll come back to.

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