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In a March BeatCrave interview, Lanterns guitarist-vocalist Lowell Heflin expressed the band's collective admiration for the Ramones and the Clash, then went on to share how the local foursome got "really hard..." into Sonic Youth and the Replacements, among others.

Live and on this EP, all I get is a band that's in love with being loved for being cute and emitting a blurry wall of unrelenting, pop-pocked noise. The Replacements influence blasts loud and clearly through highlight "Creation Myth," which has the driving momentum for a road-trip mix. Another standout, "Desperation Wolves," has a catchy hook and modestly arresting, start-stop dynamics; here it's impossible not to draw a line to Rivers Cuomo, an influence Heflin didn't mention but which has probably colored the imaginations of his college-aged generation as much as the Beatles and Beach Boys did those of mid-period boomers -- the guitars and anthem-ish vocals could have been lifted from Pinkerton.

Since current and prospective Lanterns followers just crave something they can call theirs, especially if it's spouted by cute boys (regardless of whether any new ground's being broken), a 2011 breakout will be no surprise, especially if a producer capable of true dynamics gets onboard. Whether the band can learn to play (and compose) outside the box, and without gazing in the mirror -- well, those are other matters.

  • Album title: Apocalypse Youth
  • Artist: Lanterns
  • Label: Independent
  • Songs: (1) Midnight Psalms (Alright!) (2) End-Time Blues (3) Creation Myth (4) Desperate Wolves, Beacon Flames (5) Electric Warrior Kisses
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