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The Lodge 

Take That Devil ( Gooseberry Records)

A special blend of characteristics is at work on this debut from The Lodge, a new Halifax quartet.

Arguably, it starts with Charles Austin's guitar playing. Always present, it remains understated. Austin plays so sweetly, as on "She's a Lightbulb," and ably turns the sweet into tangy in one quick transition, as heard on "What Are We Here For?" His rhythmic strumming jolts "Your Theology" and the first track, "World in Me," to life. What Austin does for the whole sound of The Lodge is to make room for everyone else to step forward and to make a clear and authoritative contribution, not just play minor or bit parts. Andrew Glencross, on bass, drives the forward motion but also adds depth and another melodic voice, reminding listeners how dynamic the bass can be without wanking. Drummer Cliff Gibb injects the soul/R&B style into this pop-rock outfit, recalling the best of the mods, punks and new wave bands. With Glencross, he makes these danceable tunes.

Finally, Mike O'Neill shifts, pitches and throws his voice around in contrast to his solo work. It's a rougher, tougher stance than sounds good on him and in this context, showing, for a lack of a better way of putting it, a bit of the classic pop front-man's abandon. Sean Flinn

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