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Sex With an X

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Eugene Kelly and Frances McKee broke up at the end of the 1980s, only briefly reuniting for a couple of shows opening for Nirvana, whose leader, Kurt Cobain, was their most famous fan. Flash-forward to 2010 and the duo reunite with a new album and it’s a wonderful collection of skeletal pop songs sung with an ear towards simple hooks and perfectly scripted instrumentation. There are no wasted notes. The vocal interplay is ingenuous. “The Devil’s Inside Me” and “Turning It On” are great male-to-female pieces of sexual tension. The title track is a handclap-fueled ultra-catchy pop song. “Overweight But Over You” is exactly the kind of churning power-pop song that Cobain himself tried to write so many times. “I Hate the ‘80s” gears up with splendid 1960s guitars to mock the decade where the best music was often driven underground and left unheard. “Whitechapel” adds an extra sheen of sophistication right before the garage-rock-cum-country glee of “My God Is Bigger Than Your God.” Exquisite.


Formed: 1986 in Glasgow, Scotland

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '00s, '10s

Conventional wisdom dictates that the Vaselines might have been relegated to footnote status were it not for Nirvana's Kurt Cobain, who regularly cited the little-known Scottish quartet's influence in interviews with the music press. Cobain's gospel-spreading no doubt accelerated their rise to cult sainthood, but truth be told, the Vaselines would have gotten there sooner or later on their own accord. Lewd but naïve and abrasive yet tender, the band's shambling, primitivist squall remains a perfect...
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