Why say “yeah” when you can say “yeah, yeah, yeah”? Why say “whoa” when you can say “whoa-oh-oh”? And if you’re not going to party at full volume, ask the Rosebuds, why party at all? Yes, here’s a band that obviously believes in both kinds of music: rock and roll. It’s true that the Raleigh, N.C.-based trio prefers a bare-bones mix of guitar, drums, and Farfisa on most songs, but please don’t confuse these Tarheels with garage revivalists. The ‘Buds don’t limit their sound in service of some purist ideal; instead, they pick up whatever instruments happen to be lying about at the moment. Or at least that’s what the group’s ramshackle debut LP, The Rosebuds Make Out, would have you believe. Garagey (OK, I lied) head-flapper “Kicks in the Schoolyard” shows that this carefree ethos isn’t a handicap—in fact, it starts with a totally infectious organ figure and one of the best couplets to grace a pop song this year: “At a record store is where I spend all my time/’There Is a Light That’ll Never Go Out’ will never ever die.” And it only gets better from there: Soon enough, singer/guitarist Ivan Howard shouts out to “the kids” and keyboardist Kelly Crisp starts in with those “yeah, yeah, yeah”s. Sure, a fair number of cuts on The Rosebuds Make Out—specifically, “Big Heartbreak” and the album-closing “Make Out Song”—sound like those slow Yo La Tengo affairs that always make people head to the bar. But Howard and Crisp make their ambient washes almost as satisfying as their hand claps and “ba-ba-ba”s. Though those last two elements are often signs of a cripplingly self-conscious naiveté, the ‘Buds make them their strength, evincing childlike enthusiasm without being childish. And some of the band’s lyrics are decidedly late-night, too—for example, the story of a barfly who’s “buck wild with her clothes off every night” and “travels with her toothpaste in her bag” that’s related in “Drunkard’s Worst Nightmare.” The song’s not a dis: Howard clearly has a fellow traveler’s affection for lovable losers. “Wishes for Kisses” suggests that only a dude who silk-screens T-shirts for a living knows what heartbreak really means. “What Can I Do” is a two-minute indie-rock “Back Stabbers” in which the narrator’s girl is “on the double, oh yeah.” He keeps trying to get her attention back, but “my baby, she so defiant.” And “Boys Who Love Girls” bemoans “[a]ll the girls moving away becoming stars.” But Howard & Co. know that getting left behind isn’t the same as letting life pass you by—which is exactly why The Rosebuds Make Out goes nowhere like nobody’s business. Let the silk-screening begin. —Andrew Beaujon

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