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Aqueduct

I Sold Gold
Barsuk

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Don't expect to find any hidden surprises at the bottom of these sugar-coated pop songs -- just a lively dose of lo-fi keyboard bleeps and bloops, and one hell of a convincing drum machine. The solo project of former Oklahoman Dave Terry, Aqueduct sounds a good bit like many of its Barsuk label-mates: a bit of vocal harmonizing here, a la Death Cab for Cutie; a dork-rock synth chorus there, like the Long Winters. But it's Terry's earnest effort that puts I Sold Gold over the top; you can imagine him in pajamas, cradling a vintage Casio and a four-track, and tinkering away on these deliciously simple melodies until all hours of the night. Even the album's song titles attest to Terry's obsession with all things saccharine and satiric: "Growing Up With GNR," "Hardcore Days & Softcore Nights." You might even find hints of XTC here -- minus the complicated parts -- or a touch of Built to Spill's power balladry. I Sold Gold may be leaden with empty calories, but what Dave Terry lacks in technical showmanship he more than makes up for with good ol' heart and soul.

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