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It’s embarrassing to admit I’ve never heard of a band that’s been around since 2002 — which convinces me its winsome sound transcends “noteworthy,” demanding “essential” status — unless that sound is so good that gratitude subsumes my chagrin. That’s how I feel about Two Hours Traffic’s Foolish Blood. At least the quartet’s Prince Edward Island location helps me plead some ignorance.

THT aces the well-trodden, desire-centric songwriting test with raw sincerity and fresh veneers (“Why don’t I do it to ya?,” “I Don’t Want 2 Want U”). As with one of the band’s stated influences, Nick Lowe, the verse/chorus form is resuscitated by creative verve and palpable group chemistry. Andrew MacDonald’s lead lines, akin to George Harrison’s minimalist underscores, are here, along with bass playing that often grabs the melody, leaving MacDonald to wax rhythmic. Sound familiar? Yes, THT recalls the Beatles’ early ebullience — or at least that of the Flamin’ Groovies injecting their ya-yas into the Mersey/Power form.

Foolish Blood merits download bucks more than most contemporary power pop I’ve heard. It’s such a keeper that I’m concerned for the group’s respective love lives — God forbid they should go well.

  • Album: Foolish Blood
  • Artist: Two Hours Traffic
  • Label: Bumstead
  • Songs: (1) Magic (2) Audrey (3) Amour Than Amis (4) Last Star (5) Meaning of Love (6) I Don’t Want 2 Want U (7) Adventureland (8) Faster 4 U (9) Ready for a Look (10) Strangers on the Street (11) O My Love
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