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Local Licks

This week we review King Midas in Reverse, Times 4, The Inspired Catholic Voices, and Paul Manousos.

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King Midas in Reverse, Everything Gets Better. King Midas in Reverse is a throwback, in a good way. There are a lot of classic 80s and 90s Britpop influences in evidence on Everything Gets Better, particularly on the almost eerie, spaced-out vocals and the open, airy production. It's a mellow sort of album — a little downbeat but not depressing — and it feels refreshingly clean and simple. The Chris Isaac-style guitar on a few tracks is a nice little local touch. (Fortune)

Times 4, Eclipse. There's nothing particularly unique about Times 4, but what they do they do well. Eclipse is classic smooth jazz, all deceptively simple rhythms and trumpet and saxophone solos. You either like this kind of music or you don't. (self-released)

The Inspired Catholic Voices, We Come in the Name of Jesus. Awesomely uplifting stuff from the local gospel act that had the number 1 gospel single in America a while back. Vocals are rich and satisfying, with complex interwoven harmonies from the three ladies. Although We Come in the Name of Jesus is a gospel album, there's nothing staid or dull about it. These Catholic Voices are wonderfully engaging, and a whole lot of fun. (Five Point One Records)

Paul Manousos, C'mon C'mon. Countrified, folksy pop predominates on C'mon C'mon. It's a diverse album, held together by Manousos's distinctive voice. There's a hint of Elvis Costello to that voice, and to the music too — the lyrics often have a melancholy tone, leavened with wit. It's hard to make music about feeling sorry for yourself without being a drag to listen to, but Manousos pulls it off. (self-released)

At Speisekammer (2424 Lincoln Ave., Alameda) on June 24. 8 p.m. Free.

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