Sophomore Slump

Triple X

If Weezer and the Pixies had a baby, they’d have named it Epperley. Epperley take the former’s pop hooks and penchant for witty lyrics and merge them with the latter’s crunchy guitars and spacier tendencies. The result is the thoroughly compelling Sophomore Slump , which is logging some serious time in my CD player. I think it’s the clever, melodic rockers, like “You’re So 1988,” “Breakups & Shakeups,” and “She’s Like a Marine,” that have kept me coming back for more of this record, but that’s really only one facet of the band. “Chocolate & Banana,” for example, walks the same hallowed ground as the Pixies’ “Hey,” and the band certainly continues to wear its Frank Black Admiration Society patch on its sleeve on tracks like “Oregon.” Elsewhere, Epperley makes a foray into twisted new wave on the subversively-catchy “Static,” while “Jenks America” sounds like the Beach Boys in outer space, and “Canter’s Chili” twists the opening riff from (of all things) Hall & Oates’ “You Make My Dreams” into a hand-clapping indie-pop sing-along. Still in all, though, my favorite tune here is the opener, “Crystal,” a tale-of a wanna-be indie hipster (“You always say/ you’re wearing the shirt/ the one that Mike D gave you/ and you always say/ that Guided By Voices/is your favorite band and then/ you always tell me/that you know Ben Lee/ but I never listen”) that falls solidly into that “clever, melodic rocker” category, but adds a cool Rentals-esque keyboard line over the whole she-bang — it’s pure indie-pop satisfaction! In fact, that’d be an apt description for the whole record, as Sophomore Slump is certainly a satisfying record throughout, and has me officially kicking myself for missing Epperley at Triple-X’s SXSW showcase.

Triple X Records, P.O. Box 862529, Los Angeles, CA 90086; http://www.triple-x.com

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