The Izzys

New York upstarts the Izzys possess a twanged self-assurance that lifts aggressively from Sticky Fingers but never trips off bullshit detectors or attracts style cops. These boys fancy a come-as-you-are authenticity not usually heard from the Big Apple these days, one welled from rock and roll's bluesy heyday but stylish enough that Rok Bar should be spinning it instead of "Yeah!"

The arrangements on the first three tracks from its self-titled debut span the rumination of a shitfaced and sunburned weekend, teeing off with "Little Sally Water," an upbeat number that swaggers wildly with good licks and lively hollerin'. Its engaging handclaps stumble into the melancholy evening of "Turning Round," then leave to wistfully roam a distant "Highway Blues" once shared by Neil Young and the long-forgotten Jayhawks.

Impressively low maintenance, so tight and clean that to label them "retro" would make them seem as self-conscious as the Strokes, the Izzys would probably sound too understated without singer Mike Storey. Faltering only during an overt attempt at country on "You Got Me Crying," Storey adds a pause between verses with expert timing, as if he were performing on a bar top while carefully avoiding the patrons' bottles, thus allowing the rest of the band to fill in with its own sinful bursts of bundled emotion. On the album, another tactful, expressive take on early-Seventies Stones, the Izzys' unaffected sensibility makes their songs nearly innovative and quite welcome. -- Hunter Stephenson

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