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Songs of Drinking and Rebellion

Spent

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Album Review

The debut full-length album from this Jersey City, NJ-based super indie rock band, while perhaps not as consistently satisfying as the 7" singles that preceded it, does a fine job of capturing the group's intense, alternately delicate, and furious triple-guitar/vocal attack. Sonically, Spent admires the music of Yo La Tengo, Superchunk, and the New Zealand scene with a quasi-religious fervor, in the process trying so hard that they transcend these bands' influence. Although all the songs are credited only to Spent as a whole, it seems clear that three distinctly different singer/songwriters are at work. Annie Hayden is by far the most talented vocalist, her gorgeous, half-spoken phrasing on "Bottled Mouth" simultaneously recalling the best work of both Stevie Nicks and Moe Tucker. Joe Weston writes the best, most sincere songs, his "Brewster Station" tidily capturing the whole gamut of romantic longing in the first verse alone. Although in many ways seemingly Spent's spiritual leader, John King often suffers from (or perhaps aspires to) the self-conscious "look — I'm writing a clever lyric" syndrome that makes Pavement so wonderful to some and so unbearably pretentious to others. That said, he is undeniably a master of the perk-up-your-ear turn of phrase and a wonderfully forceful rhythm guitarist to boot. Overall, Songs of Drinking and Rebellion is, although completely cohesive, like a smorgasbord of all the best things about pure, unadulterated indie guitar band-ness and should contain something to appeal to any and all fans of the genre.

Songs of Drinking and Rebellion, Spent
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