Man in the Woods b/w “Foxhole Madness” 7-inch

Don’t approach Lover! expecting it to sound like a logical step after Rich Crook’s tenure with the Lost Sounds and the Reatards. The overdriven guitar that flares up in “Man in the Woods” is an immediate reference to Crook’s former bandmate Jay Reatard’s album Blood Visions. But noise is about all they have in common. Lover! looks to a hybrid of breezy, ’60s pop strum as much as he does to punk rock for inspiration. The fact that he does so by such muddy means makes these songs a refreshing merger of both sides of the coin. “Foxhole Madness” is a war-themed number that further blows out the sounds of the peace-and-love decade with a breezy but fuzzy din of guitar and organ play that make Crook’s songwriting an intriguing break from the garage-punk mafia that dominates the Memphis scene. 4 stars.