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Alien Crime Syndicate
XL FROM COAST TO COAST
(THE CONTROL GROUP)

Stars graphics

Weezer fans will flip over this Seattle outfitís jolt of pure, adrenalized pop right from the opening track, a tongue-in-cheek tribute to Ozzy Osbourne that sounds like an escapee from Rivers Cuomoís vast unrecorded songbook. For this band, singer/songwriter/guitarist Joe Reineke, the former leader of grunge road pavers the Meices, has toned down his gnarly guitar attack and increased the melody-and-hooks factor. So even when he screws up his love life, as in "Careless," the number comes with a sugar buzz. But true to his instincts, it also comes with a killer extended guitar solo and sailing feedback. Even the bandís most extravagant playing here is always in control, often taking the form of catchy, restrained licks and fills that seem to fit into every opening in the mix. And Reinekeís sense of humor, one of the Meicesí most endearing qualities, is wholly intact ó from the Prince-style phonetic spelling of the song title "Is It U" to arrangements that draw willfully on í70s licks to his trademark wordplay, which turns a racing metaphor into an almost demented zest for life in "Letís Break the Record." To judge by this discís brisk pace, Reineke also has that zest for his music.

BY TED DROZDOWSKI

Issue Date: March 21 - 28, 2002
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