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The Full Counts – Next Up (Phratry)

Full Counts-Next Up
18 May 2020

The second LP by Pittsburgh’s Full Counts – formed by 1990-94 Gumball bassist/singer Eric Vermillion and Cynics drummer Mike Quinlan, who were both also in FOOD – is even better than their otherwise superb 2017 debut, First Out. While First was made with various guest musicians (including Gumball frontman Don Fleming), the inclusion of inventive guitarists Ethan Winograd and Mark Urbano on every track gives Next a more potent, full-band roar, fusing tuneful power-pop with grittier garage and punk. Behind the two founders’ taut, in-the-pocket rhythms, and Vermillion’s self-assured, Chris Bailey/Paul Westerberg snarl, driving songs like “Let’s Go,” “Hold Your Hand” (no Beatles relation!), and “Don’t Waste My Time” burn with excitement and conviction. And more restrained, mid-tempo rockers like “Not Tonight” and “I’m On the Outside (13 Bar Blues)” burble with so much tension, they’re no less invigorating. (,,