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David Thomas and Two Pale Boys 

18 Monkeys on a Dead Man's Chest (Smog Veil/Hearthan)

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Maybe all that rocking out with the reformed Rocket From the Tombs last year reanimated the sequestered punk in David Thomas, as this release finds him toying with the riffs and revved beats of rock he long ago dismissed. Well, not "beats," exactly. Thomas and the Boys traverse their ink-black byways via such agit-instrumentation as musettes and melodeons.

But the record quickly settles back into Thomas's hushed, unending metaphorical eulogy for the American Dream. Thomas has mastered the aural expression of history's abandonment of the Rust Belt. Though the style is now perfected, one wonders how much further he can go with this, as the songs themselves are not as discernible as those from the previous -- and better -- Surf's Up.

Speaking of Regional Beat

More by Eric Davidson

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