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Frausdots 

Couture, Couture, Couture

Wednesday, Jan 5 2005
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In the mid-'90s, scads of U.K. guitar bands began looking toward America -- Southern California, especially -- for inspiration, and many a shoegazer or Britpop act started country-folkin' up its sound after a literal or psychic trip to the Joshua Tree desert where Gram Parsons shed his mortal coil. On its debut album, L.A. duo Frausdots makes that journey in reverse, mutating the sun-soaked, ocean-breezed, Laurel Canyon vibe we've come to associate with frontman (and former Beachwood Sparks bassist) Brent Rademaker with the moody, synth-dappled sweep of such British post-punks as Echo & the Bunnymen and the Cure. Along with bandmate/girlfriend Michelle Loiselle and a guest list that includes members of Brian Jonestown Massacre, the Tyde, Rooney, and, how 'bout that, the Cure, Rademaker delivers stately midnight-pop gems and pretty much avoids the kind of transparent, too-stylish '80s aping peddled by bands like the Killers, Interpol, and Stellastarr* (at least until the closing Cure karaoke number, "Tomorrow's Sky"). The secret to Frausdots' success: never allowing the aloofness and alienation inherent in all that English-channeling to obliterate the warm, organic nature of the act's West Coast roots.

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Michael Alan Goldberg

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