Alien Crime Syndicate From The Word Go

Another in the long line of happy American guitar pop bands, ACS have two things going for them on this, their second full-length album: Producer Gil Norton twiddling the knobs and a keen sense of surprise. Most of the songs are your standard pop fare like Presidents of the U.S.A. However, each song has some unorthodox sound, production technique or weird refrain. Though not as adventurous as, say, the Eels, they are not satisfied with just paint-by-numbers pop on the same tired old chords. The only downside of the album is the one-dimensional nature to all the songs. Nothing but happy-go-lucky tunes, save for "In A Dream," which kicks ass. A solid pop album with a few twists to keep you guessing. (Will)