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coverpic flag US-Illinois - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 9 - 07/20/97

Number One Cup
Wrecked By Lions

The second album from the "class-mates" of Pavement, "graduates from School of American Underground Slack-pop". This Chicago group with the rather peculiar name have been taking some steps further on since their first album, Possum Trot Plan, which was released - also on Seattle's Flydaddy label - in 1995. From being a trio, they have now grown into a quartet. Well, actually did John Przyborowski (bass) appear on the debut album as well. But by now, from reading the liner notes, it seems like he's become a regular member of the band.

The story of the band tells that they came together just after Seth Cohen (guitar) "announced" in an interview with some local zine just after his former band split, that he wanted to form a new band inspired by a concert (that very evening the interview took place) starring 3 bands: Gastr del Sol (fellow Chicagonians), Stereolab (from England), and Unrest (of Teenbeat and Arlington, VA). Patrick O'Connell (guitar) and Michael Lenzi (drums), who'd both attended that same triple-bill, soon got in touch and #1 Cup was being served to the public.

Wrecked By Lions was recorded during April and May last year. Why the release was delayed one year I really don't know. Maybe it was to let it ripen? Compared to their first album it seems to be much more mature, with better structured songs, and with a far cleaner sound. But still this is music way off the mainstream. They can be compared with the aforementioned Pavement, as well as Guided By Voices, Sammy, Spent (and even partly with Yo La Tengo), to name but a few. They've certainly gotten some inspiration from the New Zealand pop-scene as well, from bands such as The Clean and related artists. It might be a bit unfair to list a string of other bands to describe what Number One Cup is like. They're not a blue-print of one or another, but still familiar in sound and expression.

To pick some highlights from this album; the semi-hysteric The Black Choppers Cry, with its frantic vocals, and the odd and riffy guitars. The next song, Astronaut, is a real majestic pop-song, reaching the outer spheres, hence the title. I guess "The Cuppies" are kind of modest, judging from the closing song of the album, Three Miles From Talent. It might as well just be some healthy irony. I guess so, because they're far more closer to talent than that.

Yes, please! This is my cup of tea, indeed!

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