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THE AISLERS SET

The Last Match

(Slumberland)***

So often, indie pop bands follow the formula of "Cute Lyrics+Lo-Fi 60s Sound+ Slightly-Off-Key-Boy-Girl-Lullabies=Love!" Sometimes the lack of passion taints the whole genre, and when the current clichè was already a clichè 37 years ago, it's a sorrowful thing indeed. The good bands end up getting lost in the mess of happiness.

The Aislers Set is a band in point. Sure, they've certainly been driving their Vespas around Jean Seberg's house all weekend, but songstress Amy Linton is both accomplished and refreshingly self-assured in her nods to French Pop. Unfortunately, it sometimes hurts to hear it after 5000 other bands have copped the same shtick, even when it's executed with more skill than the standard yummy-lovey-puppy faire. JULIANNE SHEPHERD

MATT SUGGS

Golden Days Before They End

(Merge)****

Matt Suggs used to be in Butterglory, another in a long line of Velvet Underground imitators. Whereas Butterglory's VU stylings could've been brought down to coincidence, the Ray Davies-isms on Suggs' new solo LP are so blatant it's almost a tribute album. Populated by the same fey characters, and consisting of the same kind of strangely yearning musical and lyrical qualities, this is like the great lost Kinks album--or, better yet, the great lost solo album Davies never made, if he'd made it around 1972. Oddballs and outcasts romp through the album as do such quaint objects d'art as violins, wind chimes and "little yellow wooden shoes"--which I guess are like the proverbial "china cups and virginity." JOE S. HARRINGTON

QUICKSPACE

The Death of Quickspace(Matador)

****

I should hate the new Quickspace album. A typical song is six minutes of one guitar riff and two lyrical phrases, repeated in every possible combination. And while it should be boring as hell, it's not.

You get an idea of what you're in for from the get-go. A driving beat buoys two guitar parts that sound more programmed than played, and after repeating one measure's worth of notes a few times, you figure you're in for a long ride. But then the vocals come in. Nina Pascale's voice is shouting, frenetic, and completely blown out with distortion, but also made quiet in the mix. It's frantic, but not overbearing, and the guitars that seemed ready to lull you to sleep are now just there to hold her steady.

That's the secret to Quickspace: While some bands can go from quiet to loud like a thunderbolt, Quickspace creeps in like a rainstorm, a few drops building up to a torrent. MIKE VAGO

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