The first full-fledged album by the Offbeats since Standards (2008) required some drastic changes, but the now foursome pulled it off beautifully. Yes, hiring a producer would have helped, at least if said producer told them that the “Hey Jude”-like chorus repetitions work fine on one or two tracks, but not four out of ten. The first couple of songs sound like well-recorded demos of great ideas, rather than the finished product. But in an album of mostly great singles, “A Boy Like Me” is as terrific as singer/guitarist Bryan Foster, who is a mix of Mick Jagger and Julian Casablancas; the song has two choruses, the second one coming out of nowhere, as if from a different, unfinished song, but the boys make it work organically and credibly in the mix. “Boystown,” the fictitious world the Offbeats live in, is where the Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, and the Strokes meet, and the album is catchy as hell. If we were in Manchester, hooligans at Old Trafford would be chanting their choruses every Sunday. Here in San Antonio we’ll have to come up with another way of honoring one of the best local albums of the year.
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