Sophisticated Biscuit

On Rings Around the World, the urge to bulldoze is absent. Every moment seems to fit seamlessly into the next, whether transforming from a moody buzz or into a controlled chaos that never loses the plot. There is insane craft and skill on display here that I long ago forgot about and stopped expecting from bands with funny names and crazy album covers. (The Moldy Peaches have their charms, but 10 years from now, guess whose album will be festering in the box with Jose Jimenez and Karen Finley.)

There is nothing sexier than music so bold and confident in its silliness, so willing to leap off the moon. "Sidewalk Serfer Girl," "Juxtaposed With U," and "Run! Christian, Run!," especially, are future-rock not ahead of its time, but of it. This is new wave music happening right now in front of you that has nothing to do with Depeche Mode. It could be that bedhead nation continues to follow Radiohead's lead and set the snooze button for the heart of the womb; never mind that there are so many planets left to explore. (My own message to indie-mope miniaturists? Put your pants on! Do better drugs! Stop looking over your shoulder! Think big! Dare to dream!) SFA, for their part, know that the universe is vast. The only thing that can hold them down is gravity.

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