7 & 7 Is

We start this week's missive with a question. What if some goofball geneticist decided to build a hybrid Charlie Brown composed of equal parts Leiber/Stoller and Charles Schultz? The horrific results of such tinkerings are explored on Polio's "Charlie Brown Wins Again" (Read the Label). The music strikes out with the fury of an angry surrealist, and the lyrics are packed with an refreshingly agnostic sense of wit. Walter Daniels' new 7-inch "Army of the Lord" (Undone) is further proof that he's to be credited more for his tinny principal's office microphone sound than serious musical prowess. That said, the B-side "Spider Hop" is surely the "Eruption" of harp solos. Its invocation of cock-rocking heroics usually reserved for guitarists is obnoxious as hell, but it works. Looking northward to LaCrosse, Wisconson, we find Space Bike clogging through an honest-but-meandering homage to the Midway on "Carnival" (Zero Budget). The B-side "In a Jar" combines paint-by-the-numbers pop with a lethargic second half that trails off down the uncertain road to college radio nowheresville. The locals in Mineral fare a bit better on their self-titled single (The Audio Concept). While the vocals tread a precarious line between polish and pretension, there's a solid mix of urgency and melody in Mineral's take on the so-called new rock. The big hit sound is there, but the band could use some time to distinguish themselves from the hungry herd. - Greg Beets

"7 and 7 is" reviews local and national 7" singles. Send to: "7 and 7 is," The Austin Chronicle, PO Box 49066, Austin, TX 78765.

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