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YOUR VEGAS (Buy CDs by this artist)
A Town and Two Cities EP (Universal Republic) 2007
A Town and Two Cities (Universal Republic) 2008

Coming together in the Yorkshire town of Otley, and relocating first to Leeds, then to New York City, the members of Your Vegas are the latest enrollees of the Bunnymen-Chameleons-Teardrop school of rock to try for advanced placement. Released following a three-song preview of the same title, A Town and Two Cities offers anthemic rock with soaring, melodic guitar riffs and a few synth-pop touches. Coyle Girelli's tenor is suitably dramatic, with just the right quaver at the high end of his range -- perfect for delivering his lyrics, even the ones he should've left at the depot. At his best, his words are overwrought but harmless ("We're just soldiers fighting in a war against our own advice"), but he's inconsistently mediocre. He relies on a checklist of trite clichés, from including cats on a hot tin roof to birds of paradise, glowing neon, and fireflies shining like stars. He even uses the one about coming apart at the seams -- in two consecutive songs. At his worst, Girelli's lyrics slide from silly ("Please promise me, my friend / That you'll live to 93") to downright creepy ("Love is the drug that makes you feel sexual"). Still, for fans of '80s-influenced rock who can ignore the lyrics and regard the singing as just one component of the musical whole, A Town and Two Cities is an enjoyable enough album.

[Delvin Neugebauer]