Nine Black Alps

Just because poet Sylvia Plath committed suicide and was portrayed by pop-star spouse Gywneth Paltrow in a Hollywood biopic doesn't mean she's especially rock-and-roll. Nevertheless, the four Mancunians at the heart of Nine Black Alps, who are opening for Social Distortion and the Supersuckers, lifted their band's name from a Plath line -- and if their collective sound isn't exactly an aural reproduction of The Bell Jar, it's at least more varied than the work of standard-issue post-punk acts. Everything Is, released by Interscope, begins with "Get Your Guns," a propulsive blast of power pop that's driven by roiling riffs and the melodic wailing of Sam Forrest -- and subsequent numbers touch on everything from grunge ("Not Everyone") and radio-friendly alt-rock ("Headlights") to finely tuned folk balladry ("Behind Your Eyes"). The boys have their lyrical moments, too -- particularly on "Cosmopolitan," in which Forrest declares, "You spend the night/I'll take my life/We'll kill our time/We'll be dead by sunrise." On second thought, maybe Sylvia Plath was pretty rock-and-roll after all.


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