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Album Review

It's often been argued that angry, young punk rockers can't continue to play hard, loud, and fast forever — eventually, they need to provide something melodic. If so, the United States Three (not to be confused with the British hip-hop/jazz act US3) fulfilled such a need for guitarist/singer Vess Ruhtenberg and drummer Mark Cutsinger, both former members of the Indianapolis-based hardcore punk band the Zero Boys. A far cry from punk, Watergate is a highly melodic pop/rock, guitar-pop effort that recalls such 1960s bands as the Beatles, the Dave Clark Five, the Zombies, and the Hollies. With such influences, Ruhtenberg's band could have easily come up with a fun, escapist, retro-1960s party album; but Watergate is far from that. It's actually very moody and, at times, darkly introspective. In fact, there are times when Watergate reminds one of Nico's work with the Velvet Underground, a band that certainly wasn't afraid to take a look at the darker side of things. With this appealing, if derivative, release, Ruhtenberg makes it clear that he still had a lot on his mind, even if punk was seemingly a thing of the past for him.

Watergate, United States Three
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