Much like Halley's comet, cicadas and Bono's humility, the Love Experts
appear only occasionally. But when the band finally does emerge for gigs, its inviting jangle rock feels plucked from a cache of long-forgotten seven-inch singles -- albeit one devoid of the dated sounds that such a treasure trove might contain. On this year's sublime Cuba Street
EP, the quintet doles out six songs filled with the type of hooks that take up residency in the brain and don't leave. "It's not Cuba Street/It's not you and me," Steve Carosello sings on the title track, his honeyed, Matthew Sweet-esque vocals trembling atop sunny British Invasion riffs. Post-punk minimalism and mod sensibilities elsewhere conjure everyone from Billy Bragg to R.E.M., culminating in the album-closer "Bright Red Carnation" -- a five-minute opus that starts subdued and ends with a ragged, twisting guitar solo. Pure pop music rarely gets much better than this.