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The Boo Radleys 

Find the Way Out

Wednesday, Jul 6 2005
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The Boo Radleys were one of the first bands to realize that there wasn't much difference between the sludge of Dinosaur Jr. and the white noise of My Bloody Valentine (at least in 1989). The group made its name infusing the post-Loveless world with explorations that were part Lee Perry dub experiments and part Smokey Robinson soul-pop nuggets. As the Boos came into the '90s, they were flanked by other English groups caught up in the onslaught that was shoegaze. The increasingly Baroque songs on '92's Everything's Alright Forever and '93's Giant Steps failed to find an audience; much of this output included moments of toe-curling weirdness that went beyond post-rave, Ecstasy-fueled bliss. That said, tracks like "Lazy Day," "Does This Hurt?," "Lazarus," and "Wish I Was Skinny" were perfectly sculpted fragments of lysergic pop. 1995's Wake Up went pure bliss -- adding horns and losing the feedback. The result was No. 1 hits, plenty of drugs, and, ultimately, creative burnout, as evidenced by the unnecessarily aggressive C'mon Kids in '96 and the watered-down Kingsize in '98. On Find the Way Out, Sanctuary does a good job of chronicling the group's ascension from acid-fried pop fiends to top-ranking U.K. chart stars and then down to a spiral of alienation and spiritless songwriting. The ride is ridiculously exhilarating.

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Jon Pruett

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