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The Dead 60s 

With Walking Concert. Saturday, August 20, at the Cambridge Room at the House of Blues.

The 1960s might be dead in this Liverpool quartet's world, but the late '70s and early '80s are alive and kicking on its self-titled debut, which evokes the sound of the Clash driving its train in vain into the Specials' ghost town. Yet another stylish post-post-punk band, the Dead 60s still show a slight spin of newness: The tension of the music comes from pitting the rigid tick-tock of Gang of Four against ska's behind-the-beat groove, and the band has mastered the neat trick of sounding like it's in a big hurry to get nowhere in particular. Album opener "Riot Radio" is built atop a trebly, itchy-scratchy riff that won't stop recharging itself, while "A Different Age" has a high-tremolo lead line that sounds as if it can't regain its balance. Singer Matt McManamon sneers with panache -- in "Nowhere," he uncovers the quiet melancholy that lurks inside your average street punk. Yet there's something almost too right about the Dead 60s' debut. Listen closely to the perfectly assembled tunes and they evaporate like fog, leaving only the mist of good influences behind. It's another neat trick, but a frustrating one.

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