Comrade

Nothing like a blanket statement to get locals excited about a band, so here goes: Comrade is the new Pleasant Grove of Dallas rock music. You can't get a better compliment than that, really. There's Many a Slip Twixt the Cup and the Lip, the Dallas quintet's debut, has the same intangible, genreless beauty that made foam form at critics' mouths almost a decade ago over PG. It's not an exact comparison, certainly, though the textured restraint of Bedhead is common between both acts; Comrade proves this best on "No Need," whose six-minute run is a pleasant soup of extended guitar notes, whispered vocals, brushed drums and beautifully layered acoustic strums. But where PG zigs toward country and harder rock, Comrade zags toward piano-loving balladry, which is no more evident than on "Make/Break," whose slow build into a soaring guitar-and-piano explosion, capped by Jonathan Clark's huge, British chart-topping vocals (really, is this the same guy who whispered through the other songs?) will wreck a 13-year-old girl as much as a 30-year-old record store clerk. The production's a bit lacking, particularly on the booming bits of "Make/Break," but the sophistication in these arrangements--horns, pedal steel, vibraphone, wonderful touches of ambient noise--make up for it and prove that Comrade is a true local wonder. Hopefully, someone will properly release the album soon, because Dallas needs to hear it.