Ed Masley is the poet laureate of romantically challenged, over-educated, ne'er-do-wells, channeling the clever knock-kneed misanthropy of Elvis Costello. The Breakup Society frontman formed the band from the ashes of his old outfit, The Frampton Brothers, who broke up while recording the songs that would comprise TBS' 2004 debut, James at 35. The album title — which plays off the name of a '70s TV teen drama — is indicative of Masley's pop culture fluency. The music's typically punchy guitar-driven power pop pitches somewhere between Weezer and the Bangles, though it also wanders into '50s pop balladry, British Invasion, and psych rock. Now, five years after Nobody Likes a Winner, Masley (who works as the music critic at the Arizona Republic) is releasing the similarly (dis-)spirited, So Much Unhappiness, So Little Time. There's lots of the wit and tunefulness we've come to expect. The dozen tracks range from Kinks-esque biting social criticism ("He's Supportin' the War"), to music hall-inflected nods to the Beatles ("Another Day in the Life"), and infectious jangle pop ("The Upward Spiral"). As usual, there are several searing kiss-offs ("Your Invitation to Quit" and the title track), but the best tracks are the pretty, lovelorn "8th Circle of Hell" and fuzzed-out Dream Syndicate-ish psychedelic closer, "She Doesn't Cross Against the Light." Another strong addition to the catalog. [Disclosure: New Times music editor Jason P. Woodbury appears in a Breakup Society video, and will be DJing at this show.]
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