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The M's
Real Close Ones
Polyvinyl Records
Don't Be Late

Yowling like a British Invasion version of Death From Above 1979, Chicagoland powerhouse quartet the M’s release another sharp slab of fuzz and furious harmonizing, this time peppered liberally with gale-force horns, plunking keys and crippled wah-wah guitar dribbling. Sternly fastened within Chicago’s classic power pop sound, the M’s proudly and instantly display their heritage as Real Close Ones opener (astutely titled “Big Sound”) crashes into existence with the collision of a singular, fuzzed-out powerchord and a sinuous twisting synth bobble. “Breakfast Score” tilts and slides, a madcap, funhouse romp of tuba-thumping guitar and schizo sing-along chorus. “Don’t Be Late” delights in a charmingly clumsy DIY sound mix (the bass drums feel like their tumbling down stairs in some adjacent apartment building) and the lax garage band lyrical delivery of fleetingly sinister advice like, “No one forgets, so don’t be late.”

Real Close Ones consistently dips into a variety pack of glorious grooves and sunny melodies that could have been conceived by some inevitable admirers of T. Rex and Big Star in the mid-70’s. “Naked” struts about in silly rock-god mythos and “Tryin To Keep” lilts and swoons along an acoustic folk-rock jam that describes a lost soul as his season-driven drifting finally leads him to a good night’s sleep (possibly the kind of deep sleep one doesn’t return from). The casual social commentary and self-reflexive hints of paranoia in “Ultraviolent Men” (“just a link in a paper chain / I get it on with the FBI and the CIA”) take the Me Decade swagger and collapse it firmly into post-9/11 terrain. The group, evolved well beyond the peace-love dead end rhetoric, takes an isolationist position by answering their own question, “What will we do with all these ultraviolent hearts? Might have to let them fight it out.” While some tracks emulate more than evolve, the M’s drop a handsomely listenable disc with more than it’s fair share of crowd-pleasing peaks and pure bombasts of retro joy.

Favorite Track: “Ultraviolent Men”

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Christopher j Ewing is a writer and filmmaker living in San Francisco with a girl and a designer dog (Chihuahua vs. dachshund). He is in a band by himself and has a myspace account ( and a production company ( for freelance film and crit/journo work.

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