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Album: Say What You Wanted to Say (2007)

Artist: The Frantic Romantic

Label: Self-released

Where available/price: Music Trader in Pacific Beach or at live shows for $5. Online at franticromanticband.com and myspace.com/thefranticromantic for $7 ($5 to download).

Songs: 1) Why Do We Punish the Ones We Love 2) How Sad Is That 3) Back Again 4) Here’s to the Optimist 5) Our Late 20s 6) Thank You for Your Time

Band: Ryan Johnson (vocals, guitar, keys), Christopher Walsh (guitar), Mark Anderson (bass), Brad Filip (drums)

Extra info: The Frantic Romantic is scheduled to play the Beauty Bar on April 3.

This six-track release adds to San Diego’s contributions of intelligent, catchy indie pop. The lead singer, Ryan Johnson, understands that smarty-pants rock doesn’t have to be devoid of emotion. Elaborate guitar progressions (almost Munsters-spooky on track four, and flavored with surf and Pixies on tracks one and two) from Johnson and Walsh interplay and hold tension with Anderson and Filip.

The Frantic Romantic creates something new from well-meaning but often irritating genres. An emphasis on complexity parallels nerdy math rock, but Frantic makes it accessible. The band’s power and feeling that draw the listener in with narrative resembles prog rock, but Frantic didn’t use standard prog’s overarching themes and too-reverby guitar work. From garage, they’ve kept grit and journeyman authenticity but polished it up and presented it with an almost Brit-pop cleanliness.

In short, it’s really good...maybe one of San Diego’s best.

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