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Iran
Dissolver
Narnack Records


I'm just glad Iran isn't all about crazy holy men and crazier politicians that want to drop atomic bombs on their Middle Eastern neighbors. Rather, it is a kind of one-man, Bay Area band headed by Aaron Aites, instead.

There are places where the late, great Granddaddy comes to mind; many of these ten songs have a winning lo-fi quality to them. But Aites breaks from the lo-fi crowd when he expands the instrumentation into dark, The Doors-like jams, as happens during "Digital Clock and Phone". He's also more passionate than many of his too-bored-to-care lo-fi brethren. "Baby Let's Get High One Last Time Together" is too long of a title by about four words, but the guitar work on it is like Neil Young at his Buffalo Springfield best. Vocally, however, Aites is about as expressive as Steve Wynn, which is not all that expressive at all. He's as emotive as a stoner can get.

There are a number of memorable tracks on this admirable release. "Where I'm Going" stands out for its guitar and piano interplay, whereas "Cape Canaveral/Budd (Reprise)" includes audience applause sounds. It's a little dark, but there are many shades of darkness, if you will.

If I were in Hillary Clinton's Secretary Of State shoes, I'd have a really hard time communicating with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who looks more like a monkey than a man. But Iran the group is a wonderful rock band. And as far as I know, they're not in the process of exporting terrorism worldwide.

-Dan MacIntosh

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