all capitals

Saturn (Self-released)

Deceptively simple at first, the often-seething guitar pop of all capitals reveals greater complexity upon repeated listens. At its best, the band avoids coyness and cuts straight to the rock, with the right combination of crunchy riffs and chewy layers, recalling the Pixies and Sugar-era Bob Mould. Complex leads supplied by Paul Christ and Nate Norris -- as well as Tony Corona's prog-indie beats -- drive the poppy "Oaktree" and "Saturn," while "Holiday" boasts surf guitar and a catchy but inscrutable chorus. The dirty hook that heralds "Habitat" gives way to a rather goofy verse, which is ultimately redeemed by a chaotic, shout-along chorus. Saturn's zenith, however, comes with "Never Neverland," which sounds like it's scratching its way out of an early-'90s Amphetamine Reptile seven-inch. Todd Sprigg's bass creates irresistible momentum as Norris screams words to rock by: Gotta live like a bloodthirsty animal before you die.
 
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