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A swirling concoction of pop savvy and romantic sensibilities, Plano firmly establishes the Aluminum Group, an outfit led by songwriter/ vocalists Frank and John Navin, as a member in good standing of the new gay pop mafia associated with Stephin Merritt, Neutral Milk Hotel and Imperial Teen. It also helps Minty Fresh live up to its name.

On the disc, "Chocolates" and "Angel on a Trampoline" exhibit a Style Council-like ease, "Sugar & Promises" mixes simple drum programming with a pleasant string arrangement, and "A Boy in Love" achieves electro-acoustic perfection capable of causing any twelve-year-old girl hip enough to track it down to swoon. A few of the tunes aren't quite as ideal: Nods to the queer market such as "The Mattachine Society" and "Sad Gay Life" are marred by morose lyrical navel-gazing. But firm bass vocals and conspicuous intelligence make the package a must for lovers, as well as for any music fan who's always felt that extended guitar solos are a breach of decorum.

--Kelly Lemieux

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