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The only thing better than a good power-pop record is a good power-pop record with substance, something these kids from Guelph seem to have down pat. Things start off powerfully with “On Struggles for Change and Hope,” a near-six-minute pop epic that climaxes with soaring harmonies and stirring gang vocals, a fine indication of what’s to come over the next 40 minutes. Besides a few ill-concieved interludes, this record is pretty much all hits; combining the keyboard-led energy of Reggie and the Full Effect with the political poetry of the Weakerthans, songs like “New Waterfront Properties, Fair Weather Friends” are ripping, perfect pieces of pop music that will get you as stoked for a day of smashing the state as a day playing beach volleyball. Anything this catchy can sometimes verge on disingenuous, but Spy Machine 16 ooze sincerity from every shouted batch of gang vocals or harmonized keyboard-guitar solo. (Sam Sutherland)

CD, Independent,

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