CD Review 

EP: Blackpool Lights

Ever hear of the Replacements? If you have, and a smile comes to your face when you think of the legendary '80s band, then you'll dig the Blackpool Lights. Same sound, same sensibility, and if they're not as lyrically fiery as Paul Westerberg and the boys used to be, they make up for it by being somewhat tighter musically.

The gents from Kansas City kick things off to a fast start with "Anonymous," a piece of fast-paced guitar pop that sets the tone for the disc, laying down the drums-three guitars structure that's worked for bands from the Beatles to Tom Petty to Soul Asylum (who singer Jim Suptic manages to evoke on "Left Without the Air"). A couple of acoustic numbers creep in at the end, but the strength of the band, judging from this EP, lies in their straight-ahead rock approach. If the Lights can be faulted for anything, it's that they are perhaps a little too faithful in evoking their influences. Except for the fact that Suptic has a slightly higher and younger-sounding voice than Westerberg ever managed, and this disc sounds like the musicians recorded it while sober (something the 'Mats couldn't always say), this almost could be a Replacements session. While the 'Mats were a stellar band, the Lights could do better than be slavish imitators. Hopefully, their full album will reveal a broader range than that of a Replacements tribute band. Check them out at Neurolux on the Thursday, October 20, and see what they bring to the stage.

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