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Tears Run Rings

Always, Sometimes, Seldom, Never

(Clairecords; US: 8 Apr 2008; UK: Available as import)

Perhaps it’s the band members’ history within other types of indie-label pop-rock groups that helps Tears Run Rings stand out from the crowd of young, overly referential practitioners of the shoegaze/dream-pop genre. The album’s opening lyric, a clear “I will always be, will always be, in love with you”, sets up the idea that this is an album of pop songs, albeit cloaked in a wash of atmosphere, and the rest of the album follows suit. Outside of the genre trappings, “World Upside Down” is a catchy pop anthem and “Run Run Run” resembles the Magnetic Fields. That opening track, “Happiness part one”, also sets up the group’s habit of overlapping vocals. Their harmonies are lush throughout, part of an overall mood of luxury. Yet the band’s playing is also surprisingly muscular for dream-away music, with shades of Factory bands of yore. This is music that grabs you, not just music to drift away to. It’s an example of playing genre right: using its tropes while adding new life.

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Dave Heaton has been writing about music on a regular basis since 1993, first for unofficial college-town newspapers and DIY fanzines and now mostly on the Internet. In 2000, the same year he started writing for PopMatters, he founded the online arts magazine ErasingClouds.com, still around but often in flux. He writes music reviews for the print magazine The Big Takeover. He is a music obsessive through and through. He lives in Kansas City, Missouri.


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