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Cheap Time, ‘Fantastic Explanations (and Similar Situations)’ (In the Red)

Jon Young // October 29, 2010

Singer-guitarist Jeffrey Novak pulls off a neat stunt on the second Cheap Time album, bringing fresh life to the most timeworn garage-band conventions. Compared to the Tennessee trio’s punky, disheveled debut, Fantastic Explanations almost seems civilized — think a scuzzier version of the Strokes — with Novak unleashing a nonstop barrage of vigorous put-downs, curtly dismissing strivers (“Waiting Too Long”), poseurs (“Everyone Knows”), and plain old bores (“When Tomorrow Comes”) in his wonderful sneering drawl. If that sounds overly juvenile, don’t tell Novak; he’d probably just sock you in the jaw.