Over and back (and over and back) and over . . .

Sometimes it takes a foreign excursion (or few) to bring back a truer version of an American idea. In this case, it also took a few decades.

Altre di B
(Black Candy)

Altre di B is an Italian act that sounds exactly like the Ex played through a Cardigans filter. In other words, I haven't heard a better extension of the original Blondie ideal. Musically, anyway, as the frontman is, in fact, a man.

I know a lot of people will listen to the album and ask how I can say such a thing. Altre di B hasn't shed its experimental punk roots, and it hasn't fully embraced the shiny pop production that brought up Blondie from CBGBs all those years ago. But listen to the bones: the slinky beats, the sly lyrics, the unshakable hooks. And yes, these boys still sound like the Ex--and they are at least as intense. But there is just enough pop in the production to bring these songs into the mainstream.

Enough to crash the charts over here? Probably not. But I'm always interested to hear how old ideas sound after they've bounced around forever. Altre di B is one of the most exciting bands I've heard in some time, and this album shows off the band's talent almost perfectly. Repeated exposure will bring insatiable addiction.

Jon Worley

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