Caesars Paper Tigers

Thanks to the inclusion of "Jerk It Out” in those ubiquitous iPod Shuffle TV spots, the Caesars are rich, yet only semi-famous. While virtually every hearing-capable adult has tapped a toe along to that frisky Farfisa-heavy garage-rock ditty, few of us would be able to pick these unassuming Swedish lads out of a police line-up without the help of a glossy 8x10 publicity photo and a few subtle hints. Expect all that to change once Paper Tigers catches on. Despite coughing up a few derivative, Mysterians-styled duds ("May the Rain,” the appropriately-titled "Throwaway”) and an ever-so-slightly tweaked reworking of the now three-year-old "Jerk It Out,” the band’s surprisingly strong fourth album finds them moving away from garage-rock’s stripped-down rave-ups and embracing the spaced-out psychedelia of Super Furry Animals and countrymen the Soundtrack of Our Lives. The jangly Merseybeat vibe of "My Heart is Breaking Down” bleeds seamlessly into the title track — a kaleidoscopic whiz-bang of echo-y vocals, choral "ooohs” and trippy circular guitar patterns. "Your Time is Near,” with its buzz-saw guitar drone and vibraphone twinkles, and the swirling mini-epic "Winter Song” (which sounds like Texas terrors the 13th Floor Elevators let loose on the Moody Blues’ "Nights in White Satin”) are also near-brilliant. Paper Tigers marks the next phase of this intriguing band’s development, and while they may be a little too attached to the sounds of the past, the Caesars are evolving at an alarming rate — their retro-rock already sounds ahead of its time. (Virgin)