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POP MUSIC | Record Rack

In Brief

*** Minibar, "Road Movies," Universal.

April 15, 2001|NATALIE NICHOLS

Produced by T Bone Burnett, this atmospheric debut by four L.A.-based British expatriates draws on the three-part harmonies of vintage California folk-rock and the subtle dynamics of No Depression bands such as Wilco. The songs balance emotional mystery and detail, most memorably on the wry, poignant "I Know Without Asking" and the wittily vulnerable "Sheer Volume of Traffic," which uses SigAlert anxiety as a metaphor for relationship angst. Indeed, singer-guitarist Simon Petty's lyrics easily measure up to the buzzed-about Ryan Adams, whose "Choked Up" proves less compelling here.

*

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent). The albums are already released unless otherwise noted.

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