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coverpic flag US - District of Columbia - Full Moon 158 - 08/06/09

The Public Good
No. 1
Lost Lyrics Records

The Public Good are fronted by songwriters John Elderkin and Steve Ruppenthal, formerly of The Popes (not Shane MacGowan's gang) from the 1990s Chapel Hill, NC scene, and they pour out old-fashioned, catchy pop-rock. Not bad, but not that good either. Nevertheless, No. 1 is quite okay and somewhat charming.

Elderkin/Ruppenthal make songs of old school, few-chords, semi power-pop style. Their 12-pack (a little less than 40 minutes) of songs making up No. 1 may not hold any number ones, but it's a sympathetic record, with some decent pop-songs. In fact, a couple of the tracks, "2008 Girl" and "No Heaven", sound a bit (not full-blooded) XTC-ish. The song-writing pair also show some humour and wit, and words like 'unpretentious, untrendy, and unselfconscious' have been used in describing their music. A title like "(Imagine The Girlfriends I'd Have) If I Still Had Hair" could be an example of that. Plus the 'all thanks 2 Prince' on the back of the cover-sleeve. "Cigarette" is one of the better tracks, along with the aforementioned XTC-flavoured ones.

Nothing more to say, actually. No. 1 hold well-written and well-arranged songs, is steadily performed, and is fittingly (as in: 'unpretentious, untrendy, unselfconscious') produced by Elderkin and Ruppenthal themselves, plus the more well-known Brian Paulson (who's been working with names such as Wilco, Beck, Superchunk, Squirrel Nut Zippers). A decent starter.

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