Music News

The New Planets

We 'R' Us is a lot better album than its self-serving title might imply... so much better, in fact, that it could be one of the best local rock albums released in recent memory. Chock-full of effusive grooves, resilient melodies, and supple hooks, it finds the New Planets in a unique orbit, spinning rings around their local competition while making a case for national recognition. Drawing comparisons to Fountains of Wayne, Rilo Kiley, and Death Cab for Cutie, the New Planets make an immediate first impression that only deepens with each succeeding listen. A power-pop band at its core, the group has integrated elements of roots, retro, and Brit rock into these 16 songs. Over the course of a solid hour, the disc zig-zags between the spiraling rhythms of "Washing Machine" and "Coming Too" and the all-out exuberance of "I Need Some Space," "Get Into You," and "Philosophy," occasionally detouring into the darker descent of "Memo's," the dreamy desire of "They're Robbing Us," the swampy tangle of "Overdose on Me," and the down-home twang of "I Want Cuba!" Still, it's the subtle touches that come to the fore — the punctuating rhythms, the cooing harmonies, and songs so skillfully constructed that they belie the band's rookie stature. "We've got nothing to lose and everything to gain," they proclaim on opening track "Train of Thoughts," and on We 'R' Us, those gains are already evident.

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Lee Zimmerman