Magnapop is a relic of the time in music when 'zines, college radio, mail-order catalogs, and late-night videos on MTV's 120 Minutes were the only way to discover new underground delicacies. Although the band from Athens, Georgia, was never quite part of this scene -- it released two studio albums in the '90s, Hot Boxing and Rubbing Doesn't Help, with major-label backing -- its sound aligned with the restless energy and fuzz-rock abandon celebrated by that era's indie world.
Mouthfeel, Magnapop's first album in nine years, shows a lack of self-consciousness that harks back to the halcyon days of the Alternative Nation. Original members Linda Hopper and Ruthie Morris retain their sizzling musical chemistry: Harmonies intertwine like a candy cane spun with punk snarls and girlish sass. Guitarist Morris unleashes white-hot supernovas of propulsive jangle rock -- half Pixies-style clatter, half Breeders-style sugar-dusted pop. New bassist Scott Rowe and drummer Chad Williams complement the ladies perfectly, with Rowe's roiling bass lines especially effective on the metallipunk rave-up "Pdx" and winsome "Pretend I'm There." While a logical continuation of previous Magnapop albums, Mouthfeel's well-crafted and catchy tunes sound timeless, not tired.