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Lottery

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Album Review

This Portland, OR, quartet knows how to get a beleaguered reviewer's attention. They cite the late-'60s Kinks, Pretty Things (in fact, they've recorded "She's a Lover"), Small Faces, and Who's psych-pop classics as their inspirations, and serve up a good, old-fashioned, honest-to-goodness concept LP that's lyrically like these British Invasion heroes — and their later offspring, the Jam. That is to say, Lottery is a story LP with a strong, unforced, immediately relevant theme, not some notoriously indulgent prog rock wank about magic Hobbits and trolls or some such rot. But the music sounds more like the new wave power pop of the late '70s, where Rickenbackers came back, farfisa organs sounded fine, and the intelligent words drew you in; in more contemporary terms, kind of like a cleaner, more measured, and deliberate Elephant 6 band. This is a complete and interesting LP: the lyrics trace the middle-life span of an average-Joe protagonist, from innocence in excited youth to tired, spent, passive, cynical, and mature middle-aged discontent. And the music also seems to connect from track to track, the sign of developed pop songwriters. Even the cover art is good, with a potpourri of life's artifacts crammed into a bubblegum machine. Best track: the slowly unfolding, mesmeric "Camera," every bit as good as their old faves. Were it that more indie bands put this kind of effort into making LPs that signify from first to last second.

Biography

Formed: 1998 in Portland, OR

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Portland natives UHF came together in 1998 when drummer Matt Johnson and bassist/guitarist Jeff Nelson met brothers Jeremy and Jordan Leff. Adding the brothers on vocals and guitar, respectively, the four recorded Pieces soon after their formation. In 2000, the concept album Lottery followed it up and became a minor hit in the Northwest indie...
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