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Some rock & rollers evolve over the course of their careers, changing their sound in accordance with either pop culture trends or (most likely) their own musical whims. Others, though, stick with the original plan and, over time, just simply get better at it. Such is the case with Charles “Chaz” Matthews, the former leader of the Dimestore Haloes who currently fronts Seattles’ Cheap Cassettes. As with all of his other work, Ever Since Ever Since, the trio’s second LP, swims confidently in the 70s end of the power pop pool, happily indulging in the sweet melodies/tough attack modus operandi of the Raspberries, Shoes, Dwight Twilley, Cheap Trick, the Plimsouls, etc. Openers “She Ain’t Nothing Like You” and “Malnutrition” revel in both their hooks and their old fashioned rock & roll energy, and set the tone for the rest of the record. The singalong nature of the tunes makes it difficult to pick the hits, but kudos for the rocking “How I Got What I Wanted,” the winsome “There Goes That Girl,” the one-two punch of acoustic and electric versions of the melancholy “One Black Summer” and a sweet cover of obscure U.K. quartet the Elevators’ “Your I’s Are Too Close Together.” The derivative nature of this style can lead to diminished returns for a lot of veterans, but Matthews keeps refining his songwriting mojo and genre-perfect singing, making Ever Since Ever Since the best album he’s released so far.
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