Twinkie Syndrome

The Put-Ons
Self-titled CD
Manic Records

Power pop is an unforgiving place to set up camp: push too hard, and you're a bad Weezer bite (and let's face it—even Weezer is a bad Weezer bite right now), but puss out, and you're the song from the opening credits of Friends. But the Put-Ons of Huntington Beach wear their hooks on their sleeves anyway, with this almost-but-not-quite-there CD. The songwriting's enthusiastically present and then some, and the production (especially for a home recording) is brilliant, but somehow, the summertime fun flickers in and out. "Break 'Em Up" plays like Cheap Trick shticking it to the Buzzcocks—singer David Pedroza is getting pretty handy at wrapping a catchy little lyric around a deceptively simple melody—and "Thief of Hearts" flashes gently back to such LA power poppers as the Beat (or the Nerves—good luck finding that record, poseurs!) with a pitter-patter guitar riff that never does quite what you're expecting it to do. If there's a potent single hiding in this full-length—and there is—then that's your A-side right there, which unfortunately leaves us with B-sides aplenty. Songs such as "No Biz Like Show Biz" fade into a sort of sunshine-y '70s punk-pop fuzz—they aren't bad by any means, but they don't poke out of the pack like some of their buddies. It's another case of Twinkie Syndrome, bane of all bands of the pop variety: go after too much of a sweet thing, and you're gonna make yourself queasy. So pull the best off this CD, kids, and you've got a nice little treat.

Info: www.theputons.com; Manic Records, P.O. Box 667, Huntington Beach, CA 92648.

OC and Long Beach bands and musicians! Mail your CDs and tapes (along with your vital contact info, plus any impending performance dates) for possible review to: Locals Only, OC Weekly, P.O. Box 10788, Costa Mesa, CA 92627-0247.

 
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