What's a pop-punk devotee to do when a power (chord) player such as the Briefs goes on indefinite hiatus? Scope out the Cute Lepers, Briefs principals Steve E. Nix and Stevie Kicks' new band. The two groups share the same late-'70s iconic punk influences (Buzzcocks, Generation X), but the addition of female backup singers and mod harmonies means the Seattle sextet's tunes are more melodic and diverse than the Briefs' boilerplate punk blasts. The Lepers' full-length debut, Can't Stand Modern Music, is aptly titled, given the various musical throwbacks encountered — "It's Summertime Baby!" alone combines rock and roll guitars, doo-wop background vocals and pogo-punk energy. Be warned, though: With Nix and Kicks now pursuing a mod revival, any Houstonians aspiring to become the local answer to legendary limb-flailing St. Louis scenester Beatle Bob are likely to be front and center.
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