Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

Runner & the Thermodynamics, Dears

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This show's headlining act, local Beatles clones the Redwalls, are neutral enough to go with any flavor of rock. Somebody at Metro was mixing their liquors, though, when they invited Runner & the Thermodynamics--a bouncy, clever trio of Boston rawkers who seem to wish they were Thin Lizzy--to share the undercard with Montreal's ectomorphic, swoony Dears. The Bostonians' charms come up and smack you in the eye: the bass riffage on their recent eponymous debut (on Ace Fu) makes you need those fret-fondling hands down your pants, and you can't but fall, if softly, for "Damsels in Denim," a merry metal tune decked out with church bells. But if R & the Ts are a romp in the hay after a night of free bourbon, the Dears are a slow screw on a brand of sake you can't quite afford but sprang for anyway. Some listeners can't get past the moany, quivery vocals: their newest album, No Cities Left (Maple), earned a snide Pitchfork review that began "Holy crap: it's a time-traveling Britpop record from 1995!" Sounds good to me--what the hell would be wrong with the second coming of Jarvis? While Pulp and the Dears both sound like they're scoring noir flicks, the Dears don't feel compelled to tack on clever lyrics: their earlier release, End of a Hollywood Bedtime Story, gets its points across using reverby organ and a waltzy feel that recall the Rock*a*Teens in their radio-waves-from-the-50s mode. The bill in full: the Redwalls, Runner & the Thermodynamics, the Dears, University; 18 and over. Tuesday, April 27, 8:30 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 773-549-0203.

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