BAD SPORTS: Living with Secrets: LP

I had the good fortune of hearing this a year ago, when the head honcho at Dirtnap gave me a preview when I stopped in at his record store—Green Noise in Portland, Ore.—and professed my love for the Denton mafia responsible for the Reds, Marked Men, Radioactivity, Video, et. al. I was frothing at the mouth to get my mitts on a copy, and am happy it’s finally here. The seven songs here cover a lot of ground—the opener, “Don’t Get Your Hopes Up,” sounds like it was cribbed straight out of the catchier pages of Mission Of Burma’s playbook, and from there it’s a steep dive into anthemic punk, deconstructionist pop that recalls early Jesus And Mary Chain and Buzzcocks’ artier fringes, before they climb back into straight pop that even manages a very subtle echo of the Smiths—but they maintain throughout the thread of the deceptively simple approach that is the earmark of the myriad bands to which they’re related. Aces, this is. –Jimmy Alvarado (Dirtnap)