The Dimes: The King Can Drink the Harbour Dry 

Pet Marmoset Records/Timber Carnival Records

The Dimes' second album, The King Can Drink the Harbour Dry, contains 12 jangly pop songs about early American history. After basing tracks on their 2007 debut, The Silent Generation, on old newspaper articles found in guitarist Pierre Kaiser's turn-of-the-century home, Harbour tackles subjects like the Great Boston Fire of 1872, Susan B. Anthony, Winslow Homer and Beantown's Charles Street Jail – which is now a luxury hotel. Though the group hails from Portland, Ore., Kaiser is a Boston native and he encouraged the band's history-nerd singer Johnny Clay to indulge his interests. As a result, the work's educational focus never wavers. Still, it manages to avoid being dry or pedantic, and its history lessons are easy to swallow due to the easy folk and indie melodies accented by string and harmonica. If they fail as rock stars, the Dimes will likely have to settle for being the world's coolest high school history teachers. 4 out of 5 stars.

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