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The Streets on Fire

This Is Fancy

(The Currency Exchange; US: 20 Jul 2010; UK: 20 Jul 2010)

Rock & roll ha ha ha

A quick glance at the song titles suggests the mission: “No One’s Fucking to the Radio”, “Hello, From Eastern Europe”, “Astronaut Love Triangle”. The Streets on Fire would like to occupy the same hard rock/dancehall/humor territory covered by, say, Electric Six, but they lack the latter’s vocals and musical chops. This isn’t to say there aren’t good songs here: the first two listed above are propulsively raucous, as are the lumpen “Fancy” and the peppy “Color/Stereo”. The basic mix of two guitars/bass/drums/vocalist gets the job done more often than not, but the band is hampered by a tendency to break things off too fast—songs like “The Basement”, “Five” and “Betty” aren’t much more than fragments. Other songs suffer from the mistaken notion that shrieking the same thing over and over will result in humorous good times for all. (I’m looking at you, “Astronaut Love Triangle.”) Worst of all, the mix is needlessly muddy, with distorted vocals getting lost in a sea of swampy guitar and murky rhythms. Definitely some keepers here, but guys, get a different engineer next time.

Rating:

DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com and NPR.com, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at davidmaine.blogspot.com, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.


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