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New Absentee MP3: “Bitchstealer”

With rickety garage-rock nonchalance, this London quintet balance upbeat chirp with downcast sentiment on this tune off their forthcoming album, Victory Shorts.

Balancing the morose with the upbeat, without sounding overtly one or the other, is a tilting, age-old dichotomy that has troubled musicians from the get go — any tune too saturated in either can often sound a bit contrived and thus a little hard to swallow. But here, with “Bitchstealer,” a song off their forthcoming, awesomely-titled record, Victory Shorts (out in the U.S. Nov. 4 via Memphis Industries), London-based quintet Absentee effortlessly find middle ground.

Rooted in brash, four-eyed garage-rock swagger, riffing guitars — set on high by blasting horns — encapsulate the track as guitarist/vocalist Dan Michaelson’s dark-humor romance croaks in a lackadaisical, ocean-deep Calvin Johnson-like tone. “No, I don’t want to lose you,” he sulks over soft, surprisingly bright backing coos courtesy of vocalist/instrumentalist Melinda Bronstein, before the verse — a rigmarole of Pavement-mess guitars — segues into a sleek, forward-motion chorus. Catchy, loose, raw, refined: Absentee paint the grey area so many have strived for with the entire color wheel.

Now Hear This: Absentee, “Bitchstealer”(DOWNLOAD MP3)