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Pop Music Reviews : Pylon Spells Relief to Post-Modernists

They used to call it post-punk. Now they call it post-modern. Call it post office for all that matters. It’s a sound both minimal and danceable, often with surfy, scratchy guitar lines, funkified dance rhythms and personalized vocal approaches.

These cerebral garage bands, like Britain’s Gang of Four and New York’s Bush Tetras, seem to have had their day--but save the last dance for Pylon. The Athens, Ga., band, which re-formed last year after a few years off, played Club Lingerie on Sunday, bringing the clean, clear sound of relief to ears clouded with today’s overblown murk and thud.

Singer Vanessa Hay’s guttural screams, soothing coos and Road Runner sound effects bring back the genuinely human, uncalculated eccentricity missing in today’s pop women--the wan folk singers, the blow-dried rock vixens, the aerobicized, lobotomized disco dollies. This larger-than-life Southern belle is as original as the band’s musical geometry.

With its steely guitars traveling at oblique angles through scenarios like “Crazy” and “M-Train,” Pylon proved itself not another retro-art college cult group, but simply an unpretentious combo hooked into a primal thrill-ride pulse that makes this one of America’s great past, present and future rock bands. Let’s not lose them again.

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