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  • Acoustic is an imaginatively titled collaboration between Lagwagon's Joey Cape and Tony Sly from No Use for a Name. It finds the Cali punk vets contributing stripped-down versions of songs from their respective main gigs, as well as one new song each. Sly begins with "International You Day," redone in lush acoustics and warm synthesized strings -- shucks if it isn't comparable to the bleeding heart emo stuff all those Drive-Thru and Militia Group kids are putting out. "Exit" features some nice vocal harmonies and a bittersweet piano lead, while a spare take on "Justified Black Eye" subdues the Bad Religion racket and amplifies the influence of the Hollies' "Bus Stop." New track "Stunt Double" is in the same vein as these, built from plaintive acoustic and toy piano. As for Joey Cape, he sounds remarkably like Lou Barlow when the Lagwagon racket's stripped away, particularly on "Move the Car" and "Violins" (both originally from Hoss). Cape also incorporates more of a production element into his portion of Acoustic, utilizing various vocal filters. Cello, vibes, oboe, congas, and Mellotron also fill in the backgrounds on tracks like "Tragic Vision" and "Wind in Your Sails." (Summercamp's Tim Cullen helps out with vocals on the latter.) "Violet," Cape's new contribution, solidifies the notion that he might have a career as a morosely melodic, Barlow-ish indie troubadour if his Lagwagon gig ever finally stalls. ~ Johnny Loftus
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