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I’m obliged to begin by saying that guitar-pop albums, especially those jangly, antipodean-sounding ones, are a crippling weakness of mine. My critical Achilles Heel. When I hear mid-tempo guitars, laid-back vocals and roomy drums, I can’t help but feel good. OK? So, The Honeymoon Period is that kind of album. It’s also The Brutals’s debut. You can hear the influence of The Go-Betweens and Pavement, making things bright and weird. There are touches of country, even fiddle (on Walkabout, for instance), and it all fits together nicely. The other sound I hear on this record is the dueling guitars of Teenage Fanclub. In fact, The Brutals do the three-singer harmonising act too. Lyrically, it’s fascinating, off-kilter stuff, strange observations on elusive personal subjects. There’s even a bit of a vernacular voice on it, although I’m hard pressed to say where, and it might just be the sound of acoustic guitars messing with my head. It’s sunny, charming, indie pop music, and it’s a very good album. But the impression that I get, an impression that transcends the album’s charms, is that The Brutals are a good band, the kind of band I would now pay cash money to see if they came up from Melbourne. A not so subtle hint.

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