People who bewail shiny, happy new country music but don't wanna water down their beer with tears should check out this Vancouver quintet, which blurs the line of whatever traditional music you've got with its every-song-can-have-banjo-and-fiddle credo. And on this year's offering, Smart Kid, resident singer-songwriter Trevor Rogers demonstrates he can turn a phrase like the best seasoned vets in Nashville ("When you're not long for this world, how can you not long for this world?"). Even the single "Stand Up" peppers its giddy pop with cryptic talk, like telling the song's heroine she's got "eyes like steel and a voice like velvet rope." And with 10 years of playing, the Clumsy Lovers have amassed a skidload of covers to yell out for, from U2 to the Beatles to Pogues to Springsteen -- check out their 2002 Under the Covers album, which has them all tucked in sleeping under the Canadian flag like the you-know: The Who.
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