The Deathray Davies

The Kick and the Snare (Glurp)

Texas Platters

The Deathray Davies

The Kick and the Snare (Glurp)

Every May deserves a bright, buzzing pop LP to usher in summer. The fifth album from Dallas' Deathray Davies is an undeniable contender for just such a role in 2005. With 11 full-body songs succinctly arranged for maximum energy, The Kick and the Snare oozes a rainbow swirl of steering-wheel-pounding riffs and wistful contemplation. The Deathray Davies cue off the New Wave-tinged power pop of the late Seventies in a manner similar to Fountains of Wayne, but there's an intricacy and obtuseness to vocalist/guitarist John Dufilho's songwriting that doesn't give itself away so easily. The sextet's horn-fueled, "Rocks Off"-styled opener, "The Fall Fashions," starts with the tape burbling to life midsong. Like Scott Miller and Game Theory before them, Dufilho and the Davies utilize such studio kinks to their advantage. Then "Release the Squid (Box 6)" builds a limitlessly malleable riff into an epic tale of melancholic woe. The life-affirmative "Plan to Stay Awake" is a showcase for Dufilho's lyrical wit, while "In Circles" lives up to its title by dissecting lump-throated farewells. It's hard to imagine a more potent distillation of the band's pop-spangled essence. If this were a just world, The Kick and the Snare would be ringing out at Tilt-a-Whirls from Santa Cruz to Coney Island.

***.5

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