Lead off track "Motor Shine" has a bit of a U2 feel to it, mostly because of the way singer Johnny Mathias delivers his words, but the band is at their best playing mysterious-sounding, slightly psychedelic songs like "Photos of Madrid" and "White Light Rose." The really cool thing about many of the songs here is that the listener is not going to be able to interpret the lyrics --- Mathias sings about "Rabbit holes in acetone batteries," for example, in "Truth & Anger" --- and that frees up the mind to float aimlessly on the grooves. The other side of the trippy-ness manifests in lyrically straight numbers like "Never Better" where two apparent ex-lovers fumble with small talk upon a chance meeting. The title of the album refers to the fact that Filligar was chosen to travel to places like Kuwait, Guyana and Azerbaijan as cultural ambassadors of the U.S. Department of State, and let's just say that for once the government made a real good decision. Fans who give this one a try will be making one too.
The Breton Sound
Don't Be Afraid of Rock & Roll Volume 1
This New Orleans-based band is rather fond of Weezer and they've been known to play that band's The Blue Album live in its entirety. In a bit more of a direct homage though this five-song EP opens with "Rivers Cuomo," a Weezer-like power popper named after the Weezer main man. The band shows a few other sides here too; "Love You More" is a country rocker featuring guest vocalist Cherie LeJeune, "Illuminate" has an emo feel to it and "Walking Backwards" is a driving alt-rocker. The guys like to dish out their music in EP form and have released several so fans who dig these few cuts probably won't have long to wait for more.
The title cut of this album tunes into a groove that recalls Billy Idol but as you make your way through the rest of the material you'll hear hints of acts like Gary Numan and the Cure, partly thanks to the synth arrangements, but also because of the shoe gaze-y vocal delivery of singer Lisandro "Pato" Aloi. Aloi is originally from Argentina and a highlight here is the Latin-flavored "Esta Noche en el Bar" which adds some seriously sexy slink to the mix, complete with horn fills.
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