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POP MUSIC REVIEWS : Drugstore: A Dream-Pop Mix

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American dream-pop fans may be just discovering the shimmery sounds of London’s Drugstore, but they’re already comparing the trio’s music to the psychedelic blues of Mazzy Star. But while Mazzy Star’s atmospheric backdrops lure with sheer emptiness, Drugstore has too much spirit to simply let its music fade to black.

The band’s self-titled debut album, which has proved a hit with Britain’s finicky rock press, does offer detached, lonesome and often spacey melodies, but fuses them with the expressive vocals and image-provoking lyrics of Isabel Monteiro. Friday at Dragonfly in Hollywood, the band substituted its ephemeral side with a rawer, straight-ahead sound that swooped from dreamy to rough and woolly.

Though Drugstore’s songs still need a little sanding, its personal approach to an often impersonal style proved totally refreshing.

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Monteiro, a Brazil native whose accent is a mix of South American and British, sung in romantic and sometimes wily tones while plucking bass and flashing wide, mischievous grins.

Her charismatic presence--enhanced by a small rose hanging out of her disheveled hair--belied her more sedate personality on album. The music--simple yet rich--ebbed, flowed, but occasionally tripped over her vocals.

Though Drugstore still seems a work in progress, the band strikes a compelling balance by making music that’s both escapist and emotional.

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