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YOU AND WHAT ARMY (Buy CDs by this artist)
Kinda Wanna (Big Deal) 1996

New York City's versatile You and What Army plays mild-mannered indie-pop with a smart center. Gentle without getting too cuddly about it, the skilled band proffers enticing casual harmony vocals by guitarist Gary Meister and bassist Ken Weinstein, a mocking lyrical sensibility ("American Car Crash Little Girl," "Love and Anarchy," "Turning Blue") and diverting accents: things like country and classical violin, continental accordion and punk fuzz guitar crop up often enough to keep stylistic things in motion. Kinda Wanna is a bit less equivocal than its title, but the quartet aims to beguile, not demand, and modesty becomes them. Best cultural couplet, from the bewildering finale "Swingset": "Be like clean, not unclear/Be like Schnabel, not Vermeer."

[Terry Rompers]