The coed trio Cryptacize doesn't lay everything out plainly for the listener — no, indeed. While some self-consciously quirky indie-rock combos have their catchy melodic hooks borne upon the ensemble playing, and the "quirk factor" is in the lyrics or singing, Cryptacize does it upside down.

The group's singing carries its sweetly engaging melodies, going against the grain of the fractured and oblique music. "Blue Tears" begins with a herky-jerky riff that sounds like early XTC playing/parodying reggae, while Nedelle Torrisi's plaintive vocals make like a celestial girl group — with the precarious innocence of the Carpenters or early Supremes — imploring from (or to) Heaven. "The Cage" has a duo-vocal melody evoking Fairport Convention/Ida-like folk-rock juxtaposed against dissonant Sonic Youth-like guitar clang. A few songs have a slightly more conventional structure (the vaguely gothic, Mazzy Star-ish "Galvanize") but mostly it's Cryptacize tilting and subverting pop and rock conventions.

Some of Mythomania is strangely beautiful, while some of it feels so cleverly calculated that it becomes more interesting than enjoyable. A tough call — your enjoyment of this depends on how much subversion you like accompanying your tour through Pop nirvana. (Asthmatic Kitty)


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