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December 10, 2006

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This Atlanta-based quartet has unexpectedly whipped up a blizzard of interest, much of it not local, for its debut. Despite, or more likely because of, frontman/songwriter Jordan Jeffares' reliance on early-'80s post-punk shoegazer indie-rock, the quartet has been welcomed in New York City, a perfect fit for the musical and lyrical bleakness underlying his vision.

But if this set had been released 25 years ago, it probably would have been dismissed as an also-ran, especially when Echo & the Bunnymen, New Order and the Cure were churning out better songs with a more unique style. Older alternative rock listeners are already familiar with the dreamy washes of reverb-heavy guitar on "Innocent Heathen" and the piston-powered drums driving "Stop Your Bleeding," and Jeffares' chilly, disaffected singing stops just short of imitating the far more entrancing style of New Order's Bernard Sumner. For those who didn't experience them first hand, there are plenty of albums to remind you how entrancing the sound can be.

When Snowden references Gang of Four's terse funk in "Kill the Power" or the title track, the songs come alive. But too much of this album stays mired in the same, rather dreary groove. Jeffares doesn't bring anything special to the table lyrically or vocally, and other than drummer Chandler Rentz, who provides the majority of the sparks, Snowden lumbers along in a time capsule of dated music and refried riffs that have been done before, and often done much better

The Sunday Paper

Hal Horowitz