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Christopher Zerbe Makes Great Melodies and Harmonies with Jangly Guitars

Solid Set of Songs Recalls R.E.M., Tom Petty

Recommended for fans of Tom Petty or mid-’90s-era R.E.M. as well as appreciators of the more anthemic side of indie rock, this self-descriptive assortment of songs from Christopher Zerbe is a strong bunch of American alt-rock with a light touch of psychedelic observations and flourishes. Songs such as the wonderfully melodic “Starchild” and the rocker “Porcupine” are solid and enjoyable head-nodders, good both for high-volume fist-pumping and low-volume road-trip subversion. But Zerbe’s at his best when he’s a little offbeat, like the paranoid and creatively produced “Blackbirds over Arkansas” or the lovely instrumental “Midnight in Montmartre.” For solid S.B.-area alt-rock with character, this is a great bet.

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