Sick of new-school rockers whose grasp of music history begins with the 1977 release of the Sex Pistols' Never Mind the Bollocks and ends with Gang of Four's 1981 album Solid Gold? If so, we suggest you check out pop blues group Spiritmachine. There's a hint of Keith Richards's bluesy autonomy in the group's guitar melodies, as well as a touch of Kelly Clarkson's stealth pop soul. "I would say we're a rock band that's got a crush on pop music," says lead singer Paul Isaac. But the very bright sonic mélange only frames what's at the heart of Spiritmachine: the lyrics. Though some of the songs veer a tad too closely to precociousness, there's an underlying sense of optimism in Spiritmachine's songs that is both rare and much needed. Of course, these veteran Atlantic recording artists (formerly in the Miami-based group Muse) are still in the honeymoon phase — where the pure bliss of growth and renewal is most evident — so you might want to enjoy the happy tunes while you still can.

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