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Flat Duo Jets

Lucky Eye

Outpost Recordings

Dexter Romweber is god. Dexter Romweber bestrides this world like a colossus. Dexter Romweber is the Voodoo Child. Lucky Eye is as good as any record made this year. Produced by Scott Litt (REM) and Chris Stamey (the dB's), recorded at the famed Muscle Shoals studio in Alabama, and featuring horns courtesy of the Squirrel Nut Zippers along with keyboards and a string section, this is the best Flat Duo Jets record yet.

Hardcore Jets fans might squawk at the strings, and the poppy bounce of some of the songs, but this record isn't a radical departure from the classic trash and twang that we've loved since Go Go Harlem Baby over a decade ago. The familiar themes are here -- love, loss, space visitors, and demented surf music -- they just sound bigger, fuller... more ferocious. Dexter still does that chewing broken glass growl that makes your throat hurt to hear, thank god. Then they turn around and stomp into a song like "Hustle + Bustle," with horns coasting atop a swaying, pounding wall of guitars, and you can't help but dance.

The production from Litt and Stamey showcases Dexter's quite brilliant guitar, Crow's stone-cold in-the-pocket drumming and supplements it with lush, weeping strings or driving horns. The result is a powerful record that is so varied, so seamlessly crafted that each listen uncovers a new favorite. The cut "Boogie Boogie" stomps the pseudo hipsters of the current swing movement flat with its bumpin', throbbing rockabilly/blues beat that brings to mind a John Lee Hooker groove. Put this song in heavy rotation somewhere and we'd be having mass hysteria in the streets. Then Dexter brings us down to earth with "Love is All Around" -- a grinding, pulsing echo-washed tune that really makes you feel that love is an infectious disease, with Dexter's growling vocals and a sneaky creepy organ laying a dark night mood.

So many times an indie band gets signed to a major (Outpost is a Geffen company) and the music goes lame and the band sells out. On Lucky Eye, Dexter and Crow ain't sellin' out. They're too busy being Voodoo Children -- knockin' down mountains with a wave of their hands.

--James Mann

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