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When Cactus 12 frontman Sam Getz tells listeners he's the kind of guy who'll "cry with the blink of an eye" on his band's debut, it's a bit misleading. While most of Getz's pop-rock contemporaries have gotten maudlin, Cactus 12 emotes with backbone. If cheeks are wet, it's mostly from sweat.

Getz's beefy guitar toughens up this band's otherwise breezy pop. He lays down some surprisingly muscular solos that lend a hard-rock edge to radio-friendly daydreams like "Been Here" and "I Want." Getz sings mostly about girls, his voice full of yearning, trying to figure out why they thrill and torment him so. After a few spins, you won't be able to get his girls out of your head either.

More by Jason Bracelin

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