OFFICE | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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In a Critic's Choice in late 2005, I called Office's self-released Q & A the best local album of the year, so naturally I'm pretty excited that word's gotten out about this excellent pop band since then. Office signed to Scratchie/New Line for A Night at the Ritz (due September 25), which they're treating as their debut outside Chicago, but because many of its songs are also on Q & A, singer-guitarist Scott Masson says the band felt a bit sheepish about doing a hometown release show--this free Metro appearance is as close as they're getting. (It's an afterparty hosted by Threadless.com to celebrate the opening of its Chicago store--the party is headlined by the reunited Hey Mercedes.) Of course, the old material helps make the new album a powerhouse too--and because the fresh tunes, firmly in their predecessors' upbeat, hook-laden guitar-and-keyboard mode, are hardly duds either, there's something to like in every track. When I listen to songs like "The Big Bang Jump!" and "Wound Up," I feel like I'm grading diamonds: the words that come to mind are brilliant, radiant, and flawless. White Hot Knife and the Assembly open; the Life During Wartime DJs spin. a 11 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-0203, 18+. F --J. Niimi

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