Church Shoes

Loves (KMJ Records)

Texas Platters

Church Shoes

Loves (KMJ Records)

Four decades after the fact, channeling the early Seventies Stones/Faces axiom through the lens of nascent punk remains a recipe for pleasant-but-pointless pastiche. So why does this economical 10-song set from Fort Wayne, Ind., transplants Church Shoes sound so fresh? Despite its weatherbeaten touchstones, Loves brims with an eager, cathartic energy. Against the backdrop of overheated electric guitar fricassee, singer/guitarist Nick Allison embodies perfectly slurred self-excoriation on "The It's My Own Damn Fault Again Blues." The subsequent battle cry "Yea Right" goes even deeper, turning destructive inertia into a backhanded come-on. Lead guitarist Mitch Fraizer never takes a solo that doesn't service the song, eschewing the easy wank for subtler, more distinctive exclamation points. "Amy, Just Relax" hits like a long lost Clash B-side, while "Ok" builds off a bittersweet hook that bookends every dead-end romp that ever was. Gospel for the perpetually unsatisfied never goes out of style.

***.5

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