Music » CD Reviews

The dB's

Like This (Collector's Choice)

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Though deceptively humble at first glance, the third album from North Carolina's dB's remains one of the finest records of the 1980s. In spots, it sounds too much like the '80s -- the Supertramp-style keyboards on "Lonely Is (as Lonely Does)" do not evoke pleasant nostalgia -- but opener "Love Is for Lovers" is the kind of fervent statement of sincerity that could come only from the underground of a decade fraught with artificiality. Like This can be an acquired taste, owing mainly to Peter Holsapple's deadpan vocal style, unadorned for the first time by sweet-voiced, recently departed co-frontman Chris Stamey. But that's part of its appeal; the album's tension between inspired amateurism and big-studio punch is an aptly quirky habitat for melodies that shift on familiar hooks in unfamiliar ways, guitars that ring but never blare, and lyrics that get ecstatic over everyday things.

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