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whats in between

Album review: The Pedaljets - What's In Between

(Photo by Todd Zimmer)

The name of this album is What’s In Between. Kind of weird, considering this is The Pedaljets’ third official full-length release and it’s taken them a couple of decades to get to this point. If this is just the median, then we can expect two more sometime in the next 20 years or so.
Thankfully all that time away hasn’t slowed them down. What’s In Between blasts off heads from the first track. When you hear them call out, “I’m gonna punch that fucker right between his eyes,” you know you’re in for a dirty, good time.
In a lot of ways, this might be their finest collection of songs. From the aggression of opener “Terra Nova,” to the beach romp “Riverview,” to the psychedelic/Beatles-esque “Some Kind of One,” Pedaljets seem to just be ON IT. A couple of tracks do falter when they occasionally get mired in that dark poets’ corner and push into anti-melodic wandering mode. It’s the same feel that made their self-titled LP (Pedaljets, 2008, Oxblood Records) such a heavy listen.
The Pedaljets have always played a special brand of Midwestern punk rock similar to The Replacements and Soul Asylum. It rocks, it’s tuneful, it’s upbeat, but it doesn’t have to match the cadence of a galloping horse to get its point across. What’s In Between has a lot of those elements. Mostly melodic, very rocking, and with that touch of heartland that can’t be extracted if you’re being true to your roots.
Final thought: great mix, vocals sometimes so powerful they distort in a really cool way, tons of low end (always a good thing), but if we’re being honest, the guitars could be louder.
Afterthought: OK, stay with me here…
“I love my Vaaaaaaaalerie!”

I came away from the new Pedaljets album singing The Monkees’ pop classic “Valerie.” Crazy, huh? Track eight: “Nothing Boy.” A heavy, dark rocker with a driving beat and shredded vocals. But tacked on the end is the unmistakable refrain from “Valerie” and it gets jammed in your head. Tons of other songs on What’s In Between do that too, but you get the feeling this earworm was designed to infect the listener with permanent oh-man-that-is-too-cool disorder. I mean, if you’re a Monkees fan too.
The Pedaljets are:
Mike Allmayer – guitar, vox
Matt Kesler – bass, vox, organ
Rob Morrow – drums, percussion, vox
Paul Malinowski – guitar, vox
What’s In Between was released today on Electric Moth Records. It’s available in vinyl and CD formats at The Pedaljets' websitelocally at Vinyl Renaissance, Zebedee’s, Mills Record Company, and Midwestern Musical Co, and for digital download on iTunes and Amazon,. The album was produced and recorded by The Pedaljets and Paul Malinowski at Massive Sound Studio, Westend Recording, and Midwestern Musical Co. It was mixed by John Agnello (Dinosaur Jr., Andrew W.K., Sonic Youth) at Headgear Recording Studio in Brooklyn, and mastered by Mike Nolte at Eureka Mastering.

--Steven M. Garcia

Steven is guitarist and lead vocalist for Deco Auto, and also makes a deliciously angry salsa.


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