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ENCORE ECHOES

The Rooks

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Album Review

Released in late 2000, Encore Echoes is a reissue of the Rooks legendary and long out-of-print eponymous debut, with the Double Dose of Pop and Chimes EPs added, plus one more bonus track entitled "Christmas." Essentially, Not Lame records packaged all available material not available on A Wishing Well into one easy-to-find release. Listening to the music here, it's not hard to tell why the Rooks became one of the most revered — but also most obscure — pop bands of the 1990s. The tracks are lovingly crafted with minute detail, and often feature unusual flute, French horn, or string flourishes. The ringing guitars equally recall 1980s jangle pop like early R.E.M. and Let's Active as they do 1960s psychedelic pop. It's also not hard to see why the mainstream didn't b**e: the Rooks can't be tied to a genre easily, and even though they're often considered power pop, their cerebral lyrics and unorthodox arrangements make these songs somewhat inaccessible. These songs are incessantly catchy little treasures, but they often take multiple listens to truly sink in. This isn't a bad thing at all — many of the best albums are like this — but it certainly makes for an album of music destined for cult popularity. Those with a little patience and a desire to hear charmingly adventurous pop music can't go wrong here.

Biography

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The Rooks gained a cult following among power pop fans in the 1990s with a style drawing its main inspirations from the Beatles, Big Star, and the Replacements. Leader and co-founder Mike Mazzarella (vocals, rhythm guitar) formed the group in New York with drummer Patrick Yourell in 1990 after their previous outfit, a Connecticut band called the Broken Hearts, dissolved. An early incarnation of the Rooks featured Mazzarella's friend and fellow power-popper Richard X. Heyman, as well as Heyman's wife...
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ENCORE ECHOES, The Rooks
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