Maryanne Your First, Your Last, Your Everything

Both the Sidewinders and Sand Rubies produced astringent guitar-based rock similar to Neil Young, Giant Sand, and Thin White Rope. With Maryanne, lead singer and lyricist David Slutes teams up with fellow Tucsonian and sometime Sand Ruby Robin Johnson, with the stated goal of making a great pop record. It may be just a RCH short of great, but it’s close enough that arguing the point is useless. The opener, “See You In September,” gives the game plan away. It’s rootsy power pop, but a spiky vein of desert guitar skronk lurks in the corners and hides in the shadows, always just out of reach, giving a thorny quality that lends a striking freshness and vitality. “Everyone Knows” is a striking duet with erstwhile Giant Sand member Paula Jean Brown, while “Wretched Song” is anything but, being a sterling specimen of exemplary power pop that recalls the Who and Smithereens in its noisy bridge. They have a helluva collection and can make a mix tape for me any day. (Contingency)