Contrast Fade Back In

One of the most progressive bands on the Rainbow Quartz roster, the Contrast again eschews the label’s typical brand of ’60s UK revivalism here in favour of a rootsy, yet punchy brand of decidedly American guitar pop. That’s especially curious, given that the band hails from the English Midlands, where front-man David Reid has been perfecting the art of pop composition at least since the early ’90s. The disc presents a dozen catchy, memorable mid-tempo tracks at times reminiscent of a more light-handed Dinosaur Jr. and not just because Reid’s vocal style bears a slight resemblance to J. Mascis’s mumble. Lyrically, Reid relies a little too heavily on the projective you-this/you-that technique of telling listeners what they’re thinking. His pen is at its best, however, when moralising with a slight grin, as on the infectious piss-take track "Functional Punk Pop Song.” (Rainbow Quartz)