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Pennsylvania's wittiest garage-rockers exit on a high note
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Serious mid-eighties music junkies might remember the Original Sins as a frantic, guitar and organ anchored garage rock outfit obsessed with drugs, sex, and the neuroses of the post-modern American existence. Over the years they've gradually toned down the caffine content and the obvious anachronisms to produce a Feelies-like consistency, which has pushed singer/lyricist Brother JT's increasingly wry and intelligent observations to the forefront. On Bethlehem, which looks to be their last album as a group, the moody, morning-after song arrangements serve as an ideal backdrop to JT's biting examinations of religion ("Happy Birthday Jesus"), sexual frustrations ("Shopping Trip to Mercury", "Souls On Ice"), relationship frustrations ("Hang Me") and just general malaise ("Wish I Was Here", "Sunday Nights"). JT proves himself to be as clever a songwriter as Warren Zevon, and a lot less obnoxious. As the cherry on this final cupcake, the Sins rock out for old times' sake on "One Way Out" and build up a swell head of steam. Their back-catalog is going out of print faster than back issues of National Lampoon, so jump on the bandwagon while you still can."