The Red Telephone
Raise Giant Frogs
I subscribe to a list-serv for fans of a particularly talented (though unknown) singer-songwriter. Each year we put together our favorite top ten albums of the previous year. I can assure you that next year, Cellar Songs will be on this top ten. This album reassures listeners that the American Underground music scene is alive, well, and in good hands. The music on this disk is so good and well-performed that the band can embrace a host of styles without ever losing their unique sound. Throughout Cellar Songs, the band remains centered by an unshakeable pop sensibility that underlies any style they embrace. The opening track, “Pennsylvania,” is a six-plus minute scorcher that shows them displaying some guitar pyrotechnics, and it is immediately followed by “Somewhere Far,” a song that reminds me of the Replacements and Paul Westerberg at their finest. Later on, there is “Last Day of May” a masterpiece of modern psychedelia. In a better world, these songs would dominate the airwaves instead of the current crop of rap-metal hybrids. I defy you to find a better American band this year.
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