PHONES (Buy CDs by this artist)
Changing Minds (Twin\Tone) 1983
Blind Impulse (Twin\Tone) 1984
On their first album, these Minneapolis bar-banders play cagey, roughed-up Anglo-pop with popping bass, manifold rhythms, literate lyrics and a vaguely resigned tone that colors the proceedings a darker, more adult hue than the style generally dictates. Although full of obvious invention and skill, it's an inconclusive debut that suggests more than it delivers.
On Blind Impulse dropping one guitarist to become a quartet the Phones grow more artistic and oblique while still maintaining a rootsy sound via powerful rock guitar. In spots, they resemble erstwhile labelmates the Suburbs; elsewhere, a synth-flecked funk feel creeps in to further complicate matters. The panoply of styles on this worthwhile album results in a bit of confusion that still needs to be focused. (A strong producer might be the ticket.)[Ira Robbins]
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