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FIELD TRIP (Buy CDs by this artist)
Beautiful (Ruby) 1989
Headgear (Slash) 1990

It must be tough growing up post-modern in a place called Pleasanton, but these four young Northern Californians don't seem to have been ruined by the experience. On Beautiful, singing rites-of-passage originals like "Coming of Age," "No Friends" and "Where Did I Go Wrong?" in a character-filled voice, guitarist/songwriter Jim Galbraith orients the rocking pop band towards Minneapolis, although his mandolin playing and a guest harmonica spot make it clear that Field Trip is headed somewhere else. The record is a bit wet behind the ears, but full of scruffy promise.

Despite the orthodontic cover, Headgear is a grown-up album with better material, adult concerns, confident melodic power and a clarified set of influences. Some songs set a course towards the Meat Puppets; elsewhere, the group deftly incorporates country accents with brisk enthusiasm and nifty three-part harmony. With fine playing and tunes that make fast friends on one spin, Headgear is a delight.

[Ira Robbins]