The Reputations

http://www.mp3.com/artists/the_reputations.html

The Reputations' MP3 page is short on info, but long on edgy, old - school alternative rock that would have sounded great on 120 Minutes back when it was hosted by Dave Kendall and actually worth watching. Hailing from Oyster Bay, the Reputations carry echoes of legendary left - of - center rockers like the Pixies and the Replacements, stirred with an impatient suburban angst that's all their own.

The site's first track, "Crosses," comes right at you in a Clash - esque fashion, with solid pop melodies camouflaged by an all-consuming chaos. This is the kind of tinny indie - rock single you play repeatedly until your roommate strangles you. Atonal yet strangely hooky guitar lines follow lead vocalist Joshua Kane's slurring rant across this percolating shamble of a song. The tune ends in exactly the right spot, after exhausting some two minutes' worth of feedback - ridden rock 'n' roll bliss.

"Empty," on the other hand, takes a sneakier path toward the listener, starting off as a Pavement - ish country ballad before crashing into another melancholy anthem 30 seconds in. This track has an earnest, confessional feel, with none of the beer - commercial machismo that pollutes what passes for "alternative" these days on K-Rock.

On "Glen Cove," earnestness goes a note too far, and the beat fails to push the track forward with the same wired energy that drove the previous two. Those songs continually surprised me with chaotic twists and turns, but "Glen Cove," much like the town itself, doesn't offer many memorable moments. Allow me to suggest Sayville next time.

The Replacements confess on their site that they haven't played out enough, but their recordings seem instinctive and playful. The players chat with each other between bridges, and you get the sense their parents are in the kitchen holding their hands over their ears while the kids play. The Reputations' roots lie in the "classic alternative rock" of the late '80s and early '90s, and like their heroes, the musicians have a distinctive force and purpose propelling them along. That's quite a reputation to live up to.


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