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Preview: Generationals

Noah Bonaparte Pais on the New Orleans band whose new album is Alix



Alix (Polyvinyl), the new album from Generationals, is proof that even bands with everything going for them — a record deal, enviable licensing appeal and a seemingly endless supply of neon-flashing hooks — need a little validation now and again. Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer took their skeletal demos to Richard Swift for a sonic overhaul, and the production guru told them what the rest of us already knew: The songs are all right. After three table-setting LPs and two even-better EPs, the New Orleans duo puts it all together on Alix: 10 tracks, five apiece for each songwriter, none longer than four minutes or shorter than three, all packing impact. Since the band's debut with 2009's Con Law and catapulting calling card "When They Fight, They Fight," Joyner's stratospheric contributions generally have drawn the most notice. That's particularly true here, as the perceptible gap between his elated, falsetto-flighty streaks and Widmer's cogitative, earthbound grooves has never been wider. It's borne out on lead single "Gold Silver Diamond," a synth-tingling winner on which the former unspools his '80s-pop flag higher than ever before; subsequent Joyner-sung cuts "Reading Signs," "Heart in Two" and "Would You Want Me" set it as his new cruising altitude. By contrast, Widmer's offerings come across at first as more subtle and subdued, but end up even more rewarding: "It Took a Minute," "Now Look at Me" and "Welcome to the Fire" in particular burn low and slow, like the reignition of a feeling long-since thought extinguished. It's telling that, after repeated listens, my go-to favorite is none of the above, but "Charlemagne" — instantly essential Joyner, but with Widmer's emotional depth bubbling up from below. It's the sound of two distinct halves forming an inseparable whole. Arum Rae opens. Tickets $13 in advance, $15 at the door.

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