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Album Review

On F+, their debut for Surfdog, Rusty Miller and his Jackpot crew wander between sunny, jaded West Coast pop and hazy indie rock detachment. "Upside Down" and especially "Black Road" wrap '60s guitar lines around the sort of boozy allure that the Dandy Warhols do so well, while "Vaccine" ambles into Neutral Milk Hotel's territory. "If I had a night/I could sleep on your sofa," Miller drawls. "Watch your cable TV/Take all your pain killers." "Euphoria" is a rambling, acoustic-led number livened up with twangy leads that suggest Jackpot's alternative country genesis, but the electronically processed "When We Get Together" is happy to appropriate the same 2-Tone shuffle Gorillaz did for "Clint Eastwood." Miller again comes through lyrically on the latter — "I'm sittin' here at work/Wishin' I could sing like Stevie Nicks." These blatantly referential, sort-of meaningless lines largely save F+ from merely being a survey of well-executed 21st century pop styles, and an overly long one at that. They tinge Jackpot's sonic affectations with shades of individuality. The album's way with a hook isn't too shabby, either, as the twangy "Airplanes and Secrets" and bobble head Radiohead opener "Adventures Galore" prove.


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Rusty Miller had been best known for his slithering guitar work on Cake's hit single "Never There" before the formation of Jackpot. Guitarist/vocalist Miller, bassist Sheldon Cooney, drummer Mike Curry, and keyboardist Lee Bob Watson began the group in the late '90s as an alternative country-rock band. Releasing Boneville in 1999, the band disliked the sound and dismissed it as a "really crappy four-track thing." 2000's Weightless was much more in tune with what they had envisioned, and by 2002's...
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F+, Jackpot
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