Gold-Bears: "Tally" 7-inch 

Magic Marker Records

Gold-Bears' debut 7-inch is a noisy, three-song pop affair that buries starry-eyed melodies under dense fuzz and jangle. On the surface, "Tally" is a triumphant guitar anthem, but the joys of such a sparkling dirge crash as vocalist/guitarist Jeremy Underwood's voice steers the music into a frazzled place. Gold-Bears' sound is fey and manic, but not to the point of it being a deterrent. There's honest emotion seeping through the wail of feedback and power chords in "Jeezer," which features guitar gnashing by Stewart Anderson of early '90s Brit-pop shoegazers Boyracer. "HK Song" closes the record on a slower note, abandoning the fiery and ramshackle pace of the previous numbers. These songs aren't bitter enough to be called cathartic, and they aren't tough enough to be called anything but vulnerable pop fits for the faint of heart.

(4 out of 5 stars.)

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