Aqueduct is where indie rock meets mainstream pop. The band (in the studio, it's mainly Tulsa jack-of-all-trades David Terry, although other players join live) takes the now-revered sounds of '80s synth bands and combines those with the guilty pleasures of MTV-friendly heavy metal. These songs are so catchy they make your head spin, and the lyrics are A-plus work in high school poetry class. I first heard "Growing Up With GNR" in 2002 on Aqueduct's Oklahoma release Power Ballads and was thrilled to find it on I Sold Gold, the first full-length on Barsuk. The song starts with girl-obsessed lyrics that would work in a Broadway musical if stripped of the fuzzy electronic drums, then takes a flamboyant rock turn with the sing-along chorus: "I was only 12/Damn it all to hell/I was feeling fine/Hearing Axl Rose on the radio/Singing 'Sweet Child of Mine.'" At times, the lyrics lean toward maudlin ("The Unspeakable") or cheesy (the earnestly sung hip-hop slang on "Hardcore Days & Softcore Nights"), but mostly Terry crafts his I Love the '80s influences into fun, dance-inspiring ditties that have all the magnetism of pop, without the disposability.
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Shannon Sutlief