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Nevada Bachelors

Carrots and So On

PopLlama

“Trademark of Quality” says the gold sticker covering up the original record label for Carrots and So On, and I couldn’t agree more. In an era where labels are playing CD skeet shoot, lining them up and yelling “PULL!”, Conrad Uno’s PopLlama label takes a more selective approach, carefully picking out bands that I’m guaranteed to like. The Young Fresh Fellows, the Fastbacks, the Smugglers and the Presidents of the USA are just a few of my all-time favorites, and the Nevada Bachelors continue that wonderful tradition.

Crafting their Seattle ear-candy out of the finest pop ingredients, ranging from ’60s British Invasion to ’70s Rundgren melodic warps to ’80s New Wave jangle to ’90s fuzz pop. The Bachelors can sound like the Police in the verse and Bracket in the chorus, effortlessly. Aside from the standard guitar/drums/bass lineup, the band has their three-part harmonies down. The opening “Shake Yer Mop” serves as an introduction to the band’s decidedly twisted sense of music an humor -- an introductory song that serves up dates and lineups amidst abrupt stops and richly chorded vocal hoots. “Letter to the Other Hand” is up close and personal, recorded on a boombox or cheap four-track, and it is over way too soon, the vocals distinguishing themselves by an intricate and unusual melody, rather than acrobatics.

Closing the record are “Sorry,” a magnificent power ballad that makes Oasis’ attempts at grandiosity sound trite and overblown, and a bonus track that is more (much more) than just an unlisted song. Remember folks, it used to be that these freebies were snapshots of the band in a different mood.

Carrots and So On is one of the catchiest albums I’ve heard this year; one of those albums that I know forwards and backwards, the songs and their order, by the third listen, and it’s over way too soon. Enjoy this before a major label picks up on it and it’s rammed down your throat -- don’t scoff, it’s happened before. PopLlama Products, P.O. Box 95364-2364, Seattle, WA 98145

--Ian Koss