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PEDALJETS (Buy CDs by this artist)
Today Today (Twilight) 1988
Pedaljets (Communion) 1989

This nifty Kansas alterno-pop trio lays noisy rock energy and unmitigated passion into melodies strong enough to withstand rough handling. Singer/guitarist Mike Allmayer does a really good job on both, giving Today Today an intriguing sound — Byrdslike harmonies and punky Replacemental rawness — that works just as well (albeit differently) at high and low volumes.

The addition of a second guitarist and more stylistic variation complicates things a bit on the ambitious but uncompelling Pedaljets. Stretching out and opening up his songwriting, Allmayer decompresses the first album's tersely surging pop with empty spaces, slower rhythms and acoustic guitars; the results are enjoyable but not as distinctive. Had the group not made Today Today this record would have been a credible starting point. As a developmental step, however, Pedaljets is a disappointing step in the wrong direction. (The CD adds two songs.)

[Ira Robbins]