The Stevens - A History Of Hygiene

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The Stevens debut album, A History of Hygiene, is jammed to the limit with 24 songs that careen wildly from pillar to post, saunter with devious intent, and impel you to sing along at top volume. The twin guitar jangle of Travis MacDonald and Alex MacFarlane is pushed forward by the bass and drums of Gus Lord and Matt Harkin, respectively, joining together in a perfect lo-fi, loose jumble of sound that's topped by the two Macs' laconic vocals and wittily offhanded lyrics. It's a time-honoured sound, but the quartet does it all kinds of justice, making sure that each of the 24 songs has a big-hearted hook that keeps the listener riveted to see what will come next. Repeated listens do nothing to quell the sense of breathless anticipation and happy surprise that happens time after time as the album rambles and rolls ahead joyously. To list the songs that stand out would be a simple recitation of the track list; better merely to state that the album holds together as a seamless listening experience, but almost any song could be plucked from the running order to become a high point of a noise pop mixtape.

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