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Big Star - In Space Review
by Kevin Wierzbicki

Three decades have passed since Big Star last put out a record featuring all new material like In Space does. In those thirty years the band has built a legendary mystique and front man Alex Chilton has been nearly sainted. On-again, off-again versions of the band have continued to tour, fanning the fire that was first kindled by the critically acclaimed albums #1 Record (1972) and Radio City (1974). And while you can't go back and fans shouldn't expect a clone of the early days, In Space will not disappoint. Chilton's Memphis roots show in funky numbers like "Love Revolution" while "Turn my Back on the Sun" gives a nod to another reclusive songwriter often hung with the "genius" tag; Brian Wilson. Mostly what you'll hear here is crystal clear jangle and sweet harmony, the kind of stuff that caused Big Star to be pointed out as a major inspiration by R.E.M. Indeed, a listen to "Lady Sweet" and "Mine Exclusively" reveals respectively the patterns for the introspective and the rocking sides of Michael Stipe and Company. If you know nothing of Big Star's history and discount their "family tree" you are still left with a very fine record of memorable pop. Big Star this time out is guitarist Chilton, original drummer Jody Stephens and Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow from the Posies.

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