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San Francisco indie pop troop the Mommyheads had an illustrious if undernoticed career throughout the 90s, issuing half a dozen records treasured by enthusiasts and pretty much ignored by everyone else. Flying Suit, originally released in 1994, is the quartet’s third album and one of its most well-regarded. I’ll admit to having no idea how it compares to the rest of the band’s catalog, but taken on its own it’s a fine album. Leader Adam Cohen writes tasty pop tunes, but allows the band to arrange them with a little garlic and almonds. Cohen and Michael Holt‘s guitars rarely follow a straight lead/rhythm approach, instead intertwining unusual chord voices into a wiry, melodic mesh that sometimes clash against each other, as in “Saints Preserve Us” and “Henry Miller is Dead.” Occasionally Cohen stumbles into the kind of indie rock preciousness that would make anyone cringe – “Valentine’s Day” is particularly excruciating. But strong tunes like “Bottom Out,” “Sandman,” “Box” (one of three bonus cuts) and the exceptionally gorgeous “Spiders” justify the argument that the Mommyheads are one of the great lost bands of the 90s.
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