August 21, 2008

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The Crash, Pony Rides
Rykodisc, Aug. 12

Finnish geeks doing stupid Britpop tricks for Americans. If you’d finally succeeded in forgetting all about neo-60s/70s taxi-cab-radio brain-rot, be ready for a Friday the 13th moment as the genre receives its biggest shot in the arm since perhaps its onset in this splattery mess of Beatle-boot organ, Bread vocals and bucketload of Strokes influence – think Scissor Sisters in general or OK Go with more historical accuracy. The title track leads off the set, its beat pretty much the same as Los Bravos’ “Black is Black,” which for whatever reason inspires some of singer Teemu Brunila’s better Gnarls-meets-Billy Corrigan falsettos. Everything here is so enthusiastic it makes Datarock look like Depeche Mode – “Big Ass Love” could have been Franz Ferdinand covering “Kung Fu Fighting,” while “Stalker” is first-album Gnarls under a glitter ball. The buzz factor here for this where-the-hell-did-this-come-from import is similar to that of the Teddy Bears LP of last year, and US TV will probably be inundated with this gunk backgrounding half its commercials. B-Eric W. Saeger