With 2, Southern California's the Stereotypes have created one of 2004's finest EPs. Featuring eight superbly crafted songs, the quintet's dirty sound is prevalent on "New Situation," a garage punk stomper as good as anything in the Hives' catalog. Boasting the proclamation, "I feel like a winner," the sentiment holds true on nuggets like "I Drink," a staggering, swaggering anthem, and the riotous "Dirty Sheets," which could be confused as "the Strokes," except that the Stereotypes have a richer presentation and a better knack for melody. The group also recalls Australian bands like the Ups and Downs and the Church on beautiful, Rickenbacker-driven numbers like "Stars" and "Almost Lost," making them one of the underground's secret weapons — but not for long. -AMG
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