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The Virgins

The Virgins (Atlantic)

The Virgins may be inexperienced, but on their debut album, naiveté proves to be an asset. Where the Strokes (to whom the NYC foursome is often compared) traffic in jaded, professional cool, the Virgins stumble and fumble with a kind of genial glee. In contrast to the romanticized tenor of Is This It, the Virgins attempt a truthful documentation of what it means to be young and as racked with insecurity as excitability. And listening, assuming you're past the age of 19, is sort of like going through old high school photos — embarrassing but enthralling nonetheless. Tracks such as "Teen Lovers" and "Private Affair" conjure both the anxiety and euphoria of those awkward years, charting the hormonally charged highs and lows. And even their most overt stabs at coolness, such as on opener "She's Expensive," bear all the signs of a novice effort. ("Don't let a good night's fun come to an early end/Let's have a cocaine brunch.") All of which is to say the Virgins are far from perfect, but exactly as they should be.

 
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