Like a John Singer Sargent trapped beneath a greasy glass frame, Pop Zeus – the project of one Mikey Hodges – smothers opulent hooks in buckets of scuzz. It’s no surprise he nicked the project’s name from a Bob Pollard song; like the Fading Captain himself, Hodges cuts sweetness with sand, nodding lazily towards ’80s jangle pop but ruthlessly chipping off the high-gloss, making what’s left feel as raw and as twitchy as an exposed tendon. But don’t be fooled: The attention to melodic detail – the graceful melodic slopes and canny moments of counterpoint between vocals and guitars make it clear Hodges is no yawning, indifferent de-composer. “Devil’s in the Details” is the album’s dollar-store “Lust For Life,” its rangy guitars and busted-jalopy percussion doing its best impersonation of Pop’s raw thunder. “It doesn’t even matter to me,” Hodges hollers over and over as the song winds down. That he sings it with such conviction is proof that he’s lying.
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