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The Pedaljets came bursting out of Lawrence, Kansas in the late 80s with a pair of LPs that put a proto-grunge spin on power pop and bar-band rock. Nearly a quarter-century after it split, the quartet came back, first to remix its self-titled second album and then to enter into a full-on resurrection. What’s In Between is the fruit of that reunion, a smart, vibrant rock & roll record that perfect balances loose (not sloppy) performances with highly-crafted writing. The album opens with “Terra Nova,” a spitting take on postpunk with more casual spite than a conservative talk show host and more balls than a sports field. “Nothing Boy,” “Dead Day Return” and “Clowns and Jackals” bash and crash, blending catchy hooks with careening energy in the Midwest alt.rock tradition. “Change” and “Conversations” strip the varnish from Beatlesque pop, eschewing lushness for naked melodicism. “Measurement” and “Riverside” find a balance between the two, pumping up jangling pop melodies with noisy rawk energy. “Tangled Up” constitutes the band’s distinct take on country music, while “Some Kind of One” and “Goodbye to All of That” indulge in raw but graceful balladry. Varied and consistent, What’s In Between doesn’t sound like a final statement taking a band out in style, but the next chapter in a whole new novel.
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