Metarie EP
Artist: Brendan Benson
Format: CD
New: Not currently available

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This is a stopgap effort for whipsmart popster Benson, his critically-hosanna'dLapalco having appeared in February 2002. Since then he assembled his WellfedBoys and toured like a mofo; he sounds toughened as a result. Of two differentrecordings of Lapalco's "Metarie" here, the "Wellfed Version"represents a choice marriage of lush, Beatle-esque harmony vocals to edgy, BigStar-ry guitars 'n' rhythms. A new track, "Alternative to Love," hasa breezy Kinks-meets-Badfinger vibe, while a reworking of "You're Quiet,"with its fuzz guitar and zingy synth riff, could pass for a Cars outtake. It'sa cover of Wings' "Let Me Roll It," however, that thrills: part dead-onreverence, part garagey update (listen for the boozy harmonica), it reimaginesSir Paul as a hungry-but-gifted upstart, flush in '03 with the first stirringsof awareness that hey, I just might be able to make it in this rock game afterall.