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A Decade of College Rock in Less Than Four Minutes

The Majestic Twelve isolates the sense of dislocation and tension that practically defined the post-punk era.
The Majestic Twelve isolates the sense of dislocation and tension that practically defined the post-punk era.

As every parent and guidance counselor knows, there's good attention and there's bad attention. The blue- and green-striped Muppet fur covering copies of Schizophrenology suggests that the North Carolina band The Majestic Twelve might not have picked up on the difference. Fortunately, the group doesn't squander the attention once it's got it. On "Break It and Breathe," The Majestic Twelve filters an entire decade's worth of what was once called "college rock," from Devo to Husker Du to Midnight Oil, into a little more than three and a half minutes.

Without indulging in any substantial degree of sonic nostalgia — the production is, above all else, thoroughly up to date — the band digs deep to isolate the sense of dislocation and tension that practically defined the post-punk era. It's all released in one colossal rush during the chorus, when everything about the song (the electric guitars, the drums, the vocals, the confusion and loss of the lyric) locks in and unloads all at once.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

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Marc Hirsh lives in the Boston area, where he indulges in the magic trinity of improv comedy, competitive adult four square and music journalism. He has won trophies for one of these, but refuses to say which.