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The Dimes, ‘The Silent Generation’ (Pet Marmoset)

The hooky debut from this tuneful quartet is a moving meditation on hard times, delivered with a Death Cab for Cutie light touch. Each track, cooed by Johnny Clay in a high, sincere tenor not unlike that of boyish charmer Ben Gibbard, is a sad snapshot: A remorseful youth is condemned to the chair (“Jersey Kid”), a mother and her five children are trapped in an ice storm (“The Silent Generation”). Though they teeter on the maudlin, the Dimes employ an array of flutes, glockenspiels, melodicas, tambourines, and handclaps to heighten the mood, with “Catch Me Jumping” and “Paul Kern Can’t Sleep” skyrocketing exuberantly.