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Irresistible oddball pop

Q And Not U

Q And Not U - Power
(Dischord Records)
3 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Mar. 22, 2005

Review by Tony Bonyata

Melding indie rock with early '80s new wave for their third full-length release entitled Power, the Washington D.C.-based trio Q And Not U have steered slightly from their original harder-edged post-punk course with a fun, light-hearted collection of decidedly more quirky pop.
From the stuttering spastic guitar that skips around the gravy-soaked bass-line and the alternating falsetto and guttural vocals from Chris Richards and Harris Klahr on the album's first cut "Wonderful People" this party immediately starts off with a bang. With nervous, herky-jerky beats from drummer John Davis (both from a beatbox and traditional kit) the steam rarely runs out throughout this fun-filled romp. Even when the pace slows down a bit, as on the flute-laced beauty of "Throw Back Your Head," the dirgey "Dine" or the eerie lullaby of "District Night Prayer," the threesome's approach is refreshingly different from other modern rock bands mining the aged cheese of the '80s.
The singer's voices at times resemble two other frontmen whose careers have both managed to walk away unscathed from the schlock that dominated '80s pop; The Cure's Robert Smith ("Collect The Diamonds" and "Passwords") and, when the highs hit the rafters, Prince. It's a tag team that probably shouldn't work, but when you toss in the guilty-pleasure of cheesy synths and skittish disco-punk rhythms ("Book of Flags," "X-Polynation," "Wet Work" and "L.A.X.") I'd be surprised not to find you in your dancing pants after just one run-through of this arresting album.
Whether a nostalgic retooling of the disposable sounds of the '80s or an inventive marriage of old and new, this fun, light-hearted collection of irresistible oddball pop shows a band not afraid to charter into unfamiliar territory.

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