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Pretty New Things

(Good Charamel Records; US: 22 Aug 2006; UK: Available as import)

This band spent the past summer opening for the Goo Goo Dolls / Counting Crows co-headlining North American tour, as well as performing at the after-show parties. And this album, produced by Goo Goo Doll, Robby Takac, has the group churning out punchy, rampant radio-friendly pop rock. “Distraction” kicks things off with some oomph that isn’t too glossy or overly produced. “King of Failure” is another passionate tune that takes no prisoners as it builds, resembling a Goo Goo Dolls’ ditty. However, “The Answer” leaves you asking a lot of questions, like why didn’t they leave this off the album? Fortunately, the sappy ballad “The Way You Would Kiss Me” works quite well, resembling the Rembrandts. The lush title track tries to be grandiose, with marginal success that recalls Soul Asylum in its heyday. And it’s the sleeper pick on the record with its funky, Southern-tinged bridge, while “Little Flame” could have been a sweet Gin Blossoms b-side. The jerky “Stop Sign” is a valiant effort at a rather tedious format with mixed results; however, “Presents And Apologies” is a finely honed keeper of a pop song.

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Originally from Cape Breton, MacNeil is currently writing for the Toronto Sun as well as other publications, including All Music Guide, Billboard.com, NME.com, Country Standard Time, Skope Magazine, Chart Magazine, Glide, Ft. Myers Magazine and Celtic Heritage. A graduate of the University of King's College, MacNeil currently resides in Toronto. He has interviewed hundreds of acts ranging from Metallica and AC/DC to Daniel Lanois and Smokey Robinson. MacNeil (modestly referred to as King J to friends), a diehard Philadelphia Flyers fan, has seen the Rolling Stones in a club setting, thereby knowing he will rest in peace at some point down the road. Oh, and he writes for PopMatters.com.


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