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20 Minute Loop



20 Minute Loop is a San Francisco five-piece whose songs roll and bounce all over the musical map. The constant in 20ML's eclectic musical stew is its overall, well, freakiness -- hence the name they've given their sound: "freakpop" Now, we're not talking Kool Keith-type freakiness here; it's of a decidedly more indie rock variety. Lyrically, 20ML are of the same smart idiosyncratic stuff as XTC, or perhaps Robyn Hitchcock, with offbeat songs about bunnymen and chickengirls, hookworms, and drowning. Musically, you'll hear the influence of the Pixies in the fuzzy guitars, unconventional but pop-friendly song structures, and male/female vocal baton passing (the San Francisco Bay Guardian reported that singers Kelly Atkins and Greg Giles sound like PJ Harvey and Michael Stipe jacked on Prozac, and if there were a better description in the world for their vocal style, you'd be reading it right here).

20ML showed off their capricious musical virtuosity on their self-titled 1999 debut album, which contains "Everybody Out" and "Face Like a Horse." In 2001, they returned with Decline of Day, on which they continued to develop their noisy and forceful twisted pop style. There's something a bit darker, denser, and more dangerous about the group's sophomore effort; the freakiness would seem to have grown a bit more schizophrenic and the album's manically tuneful songs seem on the verge grabbing you by the neck, shaking you violently, and screaming "Live! Feel! Be!" Which, upon reflection, is pretty damn fabulous. The album features "Jubilation," "Pilot Light," and "Elephant."