The White Cube (Lenore Adora)

Conner 

The White Cube (Lenore Adora)

OK, so this album came out nearly six months ago. Deal with it. Besides, it wasn't until I happened upon a live Conner performance that I had the motivation to spelunk through a small mountain of local discs and dust off The White Cube. For all I know, the record has been sitting here for thirty years, enveloped as it is by fuzzy noise. But in the retro-rock movement, there's a thin line between utter genius and utter stupidity, between musicians who strip down their sound with raw, rough instrumentation and those who just can't play their instruments. Conner manages to eke into that class of bands that offer shouting-down-the-well vocals and guitar squalor to the forces of good. The band has fended off comparisons to the Strokes, but there's still a decided fab-five element, albeit a tad more garbled. Lead singer James Duft has gone to the Joey Ramone school of singing with your mouth full of marbles, and Conner as a whole hits a striking garage chord somewhere between New York and Detroit, the Strokes and the Stooges, with a hint of mid-'80s melancholy thrown in for good measure. On the first spin or two, it might sound like amateurs are flailing through the tracks. Then you realize that's kinda how it's supposed to sound. And it works.

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