The Rock*A*Teens know their band math. They’ve made four albums since the early ’90s, each a slight shift from the last, each with a new cast of either band members or instruments. In the case of the recently released Golden Time, they’ve added both a member and an organ. The group has gone from punk rock on its self-titled debut to Nick Cave homages to Raw Power to, now, a loose concept album concerning teen romance. It seems the Rock*A*Teens’ burden is to perfect rock history; they named themselves after an obscure ’50s rock group, introduced punk kids to soul duo James and Bobby Purify’s “I’m Your Puppet,” and called their sound “Orbisonic” after Roy. It helps that singer Chris Lopez sounds like an old man. Whatever. Maybe the band knows that the best psychedelic sounds come from Texas (Roky Erickson) and that rockabilly still comes from Memphis. This Cabbagetown, Ga., quartet takes from both genres’ rough edges, but knows that genres can be limiting and intimidating—it grabs what it wants out of history and bolts. The only identifying theme: The music always sounds epic. But the majority of songs are short sweepers: Guitars come in and buzz about, another guitar sprinkles reverb like sparks on tinfoil, and Chris Lopez’s voice runs thick, thick, thick. You can’t help but be moved by “The Wreck in Front of Your House” and “Misty Took a Holiday.” The tear-jerker closing ballad, “Love Is Boss,” proves that Lopez and his mates know how to work old ideas: rock ’n’ soul and ruff-huffing vocals rendered as real emotions. Imagine Wim Wenders making a movie solely from his garage and you get the idea. —Jason Cherkis

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