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Sic Alps go after cult pop heroes the Tronics on their new 4-song 7″, Pangea Globe. Selected are a mix of tunes represented on the Tronics’ Love Backed By Force and What’s The Hubbub Bubb: “My Baby’s in a Coma,” “Shark Fucks,” “Spending Time,” and “Squiddley Diddley”. As a modern listener, it can be hard to contextualize the late 70s/early 80s DIY pop bands that sprung up in the wake of UK punk’s first wave of blunt nihilism; nowadays, everyone wants to give their shiniest pop tunes the hiss and fuzz of the shambolic bubblegum that was produced in basements and bedrooms a few decades ago. Garageband may have supplanted the two-cassette-recorder-bouncedown multitrack method, but bands like Sic Alps do an admirable job of updating these DIY pioneers’ tunes for a generation weaned on Wavves and Ty Segall. “Baby’s in a Coma” gets the underwater acoustic treatment I first heard on 2009’s L. Mansion (albeit at a codeine-sipping pace), while “Shark Fucks” sees drummer Matthew Hartman attempting to preserve the naive plodding of the Tronics’ signature bongos with sloppy tambourine and reigned-in snare/tom combos that sound as if he’s playing with raw turkey legs. “Spending Time” shows what may be the most significant evolution under Sic Alps’ direction: the boys add shrill farfisa-like keys, a hint of backing vocal, and another, Velvet-Underground-like rhythm guitar to produce a fuller, if still hesitant mix. Where the original featured guitars mixed hilariously low (a technique often utilized by Tronics contemporaries Television Personalities), Sic Alps prefers to mix nearly all instrumentation low and layered, leaving the just-overdriven vocals to swing in the wind. The 7″ is capped off with “Squiddley Diddley,” a bluesy reimagining wherein Hartman’s percussion skills come to the fore. At this point, anything that pops is hitting the tape hard before the track drowns in a metallic hiss. It’s not easy for a band to lovingly present their own rendition of songs written by people who clearly endeavored to give the least fucks possible, but Sic Alps manage to pull it off. Fans of the latter will no doubt enjoy this release, and Tronics fans (while maintaining a fierce deference to the originals) will likely appreciate the homage. Pangea Globe is available through Midheavan Mailorder and at the Drag City website. (Drag City, 2012)

-Ben P

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