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SEVEN SIMONS (Buy CDs by this artist)
Clockwork (Dog Gone) 1988

Gently defying the predictability of jangle-pop quartets from Georgia, Athens' Seven Simons (who lost an early drummer to Drivin' n' Cryin') have enough original ideas about guitar texture, melody, vocal stylings and drumming to lift Clockwork well above the ranks of genredom, lacking only the sense of mystery that might ensure high scene credibility. From decisive tom-tom power to a modest backbeat, Mike Zwecker kicks the beat with subtle variety; guitarist/songwriter Keith Joyner (who launched the band in '86 with bassist William Mull) likewise shifts from near-gothic pinging density to simple folk-rock strums. With the added benefit of Nat Webb's engaging vocals, the open-faced Clockwork is just like every other New South debut album — only better.

[Ira Robbins]