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Classic is another way of saying enduring, so when I say The Rosebuds excel at creating classic pop, it's a reference not just to the past but also to their future. Shy smiles and flirtatious glances never go out of style--why must great music be subject to fashion and commercial dictates? It isn't, and that's the point. You could drop these five Rosebuds tracks anywhere in time and space, and they would still be terrific distillations of rock 'n' roll. Singer/guitarist Ivan Howard definitely distills the songs to the most essential elements--and this is where he has the jump on his peers. There is a beauty and sonic power in this straightforward simplicity, which can only inadequately be expressed as "less is more." Songs such as the stunning album closer "I'd Feel Better" drive a jaunty, swinging rhythm and deceptively facile structure that's as much rave-up as verse-chorus-verse. Bubbling with sexual frustration ("sometimes I think I'm better without it," Howard sings), it rolls to completion in just under two and a half minutes as it harks to a time moments before the Fab Four. "You Better Get Ready" is a slinky, organ-driven garage tune that recalls "? and the Mysterians," and "Edmund Street" rolls to a calypso beat and a dark blues vibe that screams The Animals. It feels as though Howard is delivering a multi-volume dissertation on great pop, beginning with their '50s-inflected debut, and continuing with the pristine slab of mid-'60s melodicism. The raw, loping "El Camino" is the album highlight, a gilded ballad that floats like a gondola ride down a boulevard of dreams before its swelling climax. An astoundingly rich EP, and another triumph.

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