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Homespun: The Upright Animals 

Carnivore City
(self-released)

For its latest EP, the Upright Animals decamped to Blackbird Studio in Nashville, where the disc was recorded and mixed by Vance Powell (who has worked with the Raconteurs, among others). The professional studio space and the band's own deft production has yielded a clean, compact EP that finds the quintet comfortably working within the realm of modern rock while occasionally tinkering with the formula. The musicianship is suitably tight — guitarists and brothers Jim and Ben Peters spit rhythmic shards and wah-pedal-enhanced solos back and forth, and the rhythm section whips the songs into shape (especially on the title track). But the many bands working in this genre succeed or fail because of their lead singers, and thankfully Jamie Irwin has the in-born soul and the vocal power to make these songs stick. He carries the slightly down-tempo "Spider Veins" out of its pedestrian arrangement and guides closing track "Speed of a Slow Night" through its delightfully herky-jerky phases. The band relies on subtlety and suggestion instead of just volume and speed, and eardrums across St. Louis are better for it.

Want your CD to be considered for a review in this space? Send music c/o The Riverfront Times, Attn: Homespun, 6358 Delmar Boulevard, Suite 200, St. Louis, Missouri, 63130. E-mail music@riverfronttimes.com for more information.

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