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Vandelay Industries

Critter
Self-released

Vandelay Industries — a Fort Collins pop-punk quartet awesomely named after George Costanza's fake business — makes no attempt at dressing up a well-worn genre with Critter. Instead, the band lets synths be pretty while drums, bass and guitar play safely within major-chord reason and Blake Hinson's voice stays completely unassuming. The sameness in songs like "Joliet" and "Synesthesia" could be to the group's detriment, but instead it comes across with the comforting coos of a lost Weezer or Anniversary B-side. The typical themes of wanton women, old-timey love and general young-dude stuff abound on Critter, but with a lyrical interest-keeping complexity: "Golden Sails & Crystal Anchors" has Hinson sweetly singing "So fold your seats the flattest to look something like a mattress/Act like you're not scared" to a fictional girl. That fictional girl might also be your little sister, and Vandelay Industries might be her favorite pop-punk band — but secretly, you love them, too.

 
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