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Best Album 

Fourth of July on the Plains

irlfriends, parties and jangly guitars — hell, yeah! But then, there are breakups and hangovers, too. It's all part of being old enough to drink but too young to know better, and no album we've heard this year better captures the anxious blues and bibulous bliss of life in one's 20s than the Fourth's debut. Frontman Brendan Hangauer, one of the best smart-slacker lyricists to come out of the area in a while, crafts humorous dialogues between men and women in and out of relationships and bars, often with the man ending up frustrated, drunk and/or broke — a romantic clown watching his lady love flit away into the night. That would be a bummer if it weren't for the album's consistently catchy, celebratory style, buoyed by gang vocals, trumpets, tambourines and lots of shiny, happy guitar.

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