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The title of the Library Is on Fire's debut album isn't just a token act of indie-rock nostalgia; it's part of a high-concept theme that runs from the music to the CD booklet, which includes a lengthy essay (plus endnotes!) that reference Devo and poet Wallace Stevens. Frontman Steve Five believes that all art captures fleeting impressions as best it can, for as long as it can. That would be so much intellectual wankery, if the music didn't rock so hard. Cassette nails the post-Nirvana soft-loud dynamic with a wall of noise that incorporates lacerating guitar, chest-jabbing drums, and grace notes from a flutophone and toy keyboard. And in the ethereal "Dream of Patti Smith #4 and #5," Five chases the punk priestess, all the while gaining ground.

Speaking of CD Review

More by D.X. Ferris

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