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The Pity List

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Album Review

The North Carolina band's second album stakes out much the same territory as the first: harmony pop/rock with an indie slant that rocks harder than much such stuff in the genre. (Question: Are there many power pop bands that make second albums that don't stake out much the same territory as the debut?) Perhaps there's more emphasis on fuzzy guitars this time around, but not to a great degree. They get into some mildly interesting lyrical spins, as in musing that it's a long way from "Florida to the Radio," whatever that may mean, or when they sing about wishing they had "Sodium Pentothal" as they can't be trusted, set to bludgeoning power chords. It's unsurprising that Chris Stamey produced this with the band, as it's guaranteed to appeal to fans of the Southern power pop sound, from Big Star and Stamey's old projects through the R.E.M.-esque bands of the 1980s and beyond. All those fuzzy guitars do tend to obscure the vocals and lyrics, whether or not that was an intentional decision. You could argue that some of the words are also fuzzy enough in their intention, with their drifting reflective-romantic inquisitions, that such arrangements are appropriate. The tracks with more acoustic guitar and space, like "I Was the One" and the closing "Get Out, Good Night," come as a refreshing contrast to the predominant tone of the disc.

Biography

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The Mayflies USA (there is no Mayflies UK, that's just a joke) are one of the more pop-oriented bands to emerge from the buzzing, trendy Chapel Hill, North Carolina scene in the 1990s. After a debut EP in 1997, they released their first full-length in early 1999, which was produced by North Carolina alt-pop legend Chris Stamey. That's a logical connection, since Stamey and the Mayflies USA share a love of British pop, power pop in the Big Star mold, and the kind of jangly alternative pop-rock that...
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