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Sarah Tomlinson

The Mopes Accident Waiting to Happen

While these guys don’t want you to fixate on their pop-punk credentials — the QueersScreeching Weaselthe Riverdales — it must be said that they perfected the art of delivering upbeat pop-punk valentines while serving time with these bands. If anything the band’s full-length album, 1999’s Accident Waiting to Happen, may be too consistent, without much variation in tempo or mood beyond the rock ballad “Not a Word,” which slows the album to a melancholy shuffle. But for fans of neat, spry punk with lyrics squarely registered on the relationship radar, consistent means an album of buoyant love songs with no missteps. Whereas their 1998 debut EP, Two Bit Sidewinder, coaxed listeners to grab their hula hoops and head out for a beach blanket blowout — mixing “Monster Mash” vocals, cool cat snaps and chanted nonsense choruses in an ode to ’60s surf — their follow-up is a coherent album about the suppressed sighs and temporary truces of long-term relationships. The ’60s surf sound lingers in the album’s three instrumental songs, which are part spaghetti western, part Ventures, and a guitar tone that’s more rock than pop, especially the Chuck Berry style solo on “Glad You’re Gone,” which has an infectious rhythm that makes it one of the album’s gems. For those who have come to trust the presence of Beach Boys-style harmonies as filtered through the Ramones on any pop-punk outing, there are plenty of “oh”s and “whoah”s, especially on the catchy love song “Baby Doll.” While the album has a cowboy theme with a menacing sepia cover, the meanest fighting words here take aim at a deceitful ex-girlfriend who has been “cold and slimy” on “Glad Your Gone.” It sounds like they’ve come to rock, not to fight.