Pretendo | ][ (Country Club)

cd_pretendo.jpgEach song seems tailor-made to be the soundtrack of a high-speed chase.







If ever I were to fly off the handle in my car and rocket through oncoming lanes of traffic while giggling uncontrollably,][ would be the album I would want playing before I accelerate through that first red light. Each song seems tailor-made to be the soundtrack of a high-speed chase, with aggressive strumming and a peppy beat lending itself to hurtling over hills, San Francisco-style. The vocal arrangements are melodious and upbeat, perfect for taking minds off of the spike strips ahead and the inevitable jail stretch.

Be that as it may,][ makes for great listening in the car regardless of speed or lane. Compositions are straightforward, but the diversity of sounds and the intricacy with which they are blended demand attention. Tracks like "Chronicle a Free Subletting" and "06/06/06" thoroughly rock in a very surf-pop way, with solid guitar lines throughout. Softer songs such as "Mandy, I Mean, Mindy" and "Lee" spit bizarre and comical lyrics with a decidedly deadpan delivery.

The album takes a distinctly slower-paced turn with "Cynthia" and "A Smoking Pipe to Dance," before returning to its more rockish beginnings in the second half of "Sherman Speaks." The most twisted aspects of their experimentation reveal themselves with the final track "Pong," which takes on an almost spoken-word feel midway.

The final verdict: Pretendo ][ is an album that explores a range of new sounds and styles while still remaining light and fun throughout. B+ | Josh Vise

RIYL: Mogwai with a healthy dose of surf music sounds

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