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The Black and White Album 


The Deal: Swedish quintet of retro rockers releases an album that's longer than their 30-minute standard.

The Good: In the past, the band has fit into the whole Strokes-White Stripes genre of retro rockers with a modern twist. For their third U.S. release, the band is exploring a little more of the boundaries. They lean toward punk on "You Got it All ... Wrong," get help from the Ole Miss cheerleaders on "Try It Again" and find their way into a European rock style a la The Beatsteaks with "Well All Right." The changes in styles is not, in any way, a dig at consistency – through the first half. It picks back up at "Return the Favour" after a three track detour before another digression at "Giddy Up!"

The Bad: I could do without the keyboard-heavy, spooky instrumental, "A Stroll Through Hive Manor Corridors." The track caused the album to lose a hint of steam which slowly picked back up for the second half. "T.H.E.H.I.V.E.S." finds a funky falsetto and groovy beat that's a bit out of place with the other tracks, sounding almost like something from They Might Be Giants. I could live without "Giddy Up!" and "Puppet on a String," as well.

The Verdict: The great tracks are really great, but the bad ones make your brow furrow and make you question if you're listening to the same disc.

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