RETURNABLES, THE: Self-Titled: CDEP

There is something intangibly Chicago-sounding about the Returnables. I can’t quantify or explain it, but it’s there, the same buzzing, energetic undercurrent that made Naked Raygun and Pegboy so memorable. This CD collects four studio and three live tracks from 2005, and illustrates how fantastic this band was at writing catchy power pop tunes. And when I say catchy, I mean the kind of songs that get stuck in your head and are impossible to pick out, like a gob of chewing gum in a little kid’s hair. “What Would Mother Say” and “Teenage Imposter” are would-be smash hits that call to mind the Replacements and the mighty Firestarter. The singer’s low, Quaalude drawl sways to and fro on the studio tracks, but is betrayed by blasts of emotion and energy on the live cuts. Having these guys on a bill in the late ‘70s with the Fast Cars would have been brilliant, were time travel possible and all that. Tragedy struck the Returnables in July of 2005 when their singer was killed in freak automobile accident, which is too bad for a number of reasons, not the least of which is it cut short the life of a fantastic band.

 –benke (Dirtnap)