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The Walkmen 

With Mazarin and Rockwell. Tuesday, May 30, at the Beachland Ballroom.

While the Walkmen probably should be considered their own entity, it's hard not to relate them to the superior Jonathan Fire*Eater, which broke up in 1998. With three Fire*Eater members, including those responsible for much of that band's sound -- guitarist Paul Maroon and keyboard player Walter Martin -- the Walkmen often exhibit definite echoes of their former band, but that's all it is. While they still work fuzzy, garaged-out shamble, much of the tightrope-walking danger and ramshackle charm is lacking. It's replaced with a muscularity that recalls a grimier Wedding Present, but without David Gedge's fat-cutting precision.

Opener Mazarin is the best pop act this side of the Flaming Lips. Just settle down with "The New American Apathy": chiming bells, a swirling drone of guitar, and an insistent little hook descending beneath an organ ride, as singer-guitarist Quentin Stolfuz asks, "Who wants to be oblivious?"

We do, if it involves listening to pop this perfect.

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