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MELTING HOPEFULS (Buy CDs by this artist)
Prune Juice EP [tape] (no label) 1991
Magnet for Stains EP [tape] (no label) 1992
Heal Back Harder EP [tape] (no label) 1993
Space Flyer (bigPoP/Shanachie) 1994
Viva la Void (bigPoP) 1995

Although they could easily veer off into art-rock pretensions, Melting Hopefuls somehow skewer the lines between pretty pop, rambunctious noise, precious poetry and generic post-punk just enough to stay out of trouble. The quintet records in its rehearsal/recording space in suburban New Jersey; as a result, the records have a touch of homespun intensity that suggests music in a constant experimental state. Meanwhile, singer/lyricist Reneé LoBue shifts between extroverted commentary and more private thoughts. (The 1994 album's "Pulling an Allnighter on Myself," released as a single and then remixed and included on Viva la Void, received a bit of notoriety for being about catching one's date in the act of masturbation.) Highlighted by that song and "Turn on the Turn-Off," the eight-song Viva la Void is stronger than the thirteen-track Space Flyer. The playing is sharper and the overall feel — though definitely post-Pavement — catches the pioneer spirit of indie-rock while steering clear of its dead ends.

[Rob O'Connor]