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Russian Spy Camera

You Are a Vulture

(Happy Happy Birthday to Me; US: 25 Jul 2006; UK: Unavailable)

This Athens, Georgia, group is the idea of Ryan White and his growing plethora of songs. As a result of this proflific streak, White has release a dozen of these tracks, beginning with “To Slip Through the Cracks”, which has a mix of contemporary pop with a late ‘60s pop swing to it. It’s a very good stab at what could be described as a Yankee attempt at classic, punchy, and sometimes winding Brit pop. “Teasers With Tasers” is perky electro-pop that resembles a cross between Depeche Mode and Baby Dayliner. Fans of Spoon should lap up the somewhat funky and very satisfying “Svengali What’s the Caper”. One noticeable departure from this is the acoustic-leaning folk pop of “Curanderismo” that brings to mind the Barenaked Ladies. However, Russian Spy Camera returns to its strengths with the pleasing and rousing, Talking Heads-ish “Greetings from Far Away” and the gorgeous “A Matter of Time & Distance”, which could have fallen out of Crowded House’s songbook. The band are consistently inviting and engaging, whether it’s a surf rock-meets-punk rock romp like “Blueprint”, the hushed tone oozing from the ballad-y “Do You Feel Safe?”, or the off-kilter pop of “Descension”. Hopefully, it’s a band we’ll hear more from!

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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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