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The Jigsaw Seen: A Should-Be Hitmaker

Long-running psych-pop band The Jigsaw Seen belongs to the school of quality over quantity, of pop classicism over AutoTuned commercialism, even though its role models (the Kinks, Hollies and Beatles) have knocked out plenty of hits over the years. Over the last two decades, the band has released a fistful of compilation tracks, a few EPs and a full-length record every five to eight years or so. But all of the music remains inspired; after 20 years, The Jigsaw Seen sounds sharper and fierier on Bananas Foster than on its 1991 debut.

Still, the group knows the pitfalls of writing soaring, smart, carefully crafted pop in a world where skill and historical perspective aren't hit-making prerequisites. "Where the Action Isn't" is The Jigsaw Seen's simmering but witty poke at itself: Over a stomping, Stooges-infused riff laced with pleasing but not syrupy harmony vocals, the band members try to figure out the musical question, "Why can't I hold your attention?" By the end, they just shrug their shoulders, channel Popeye ("I yam what I yam") and stay the course: "If you're up for games / Sister, you're just wishing / Every day's the same / This is where the action isn't."

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Cecile Cloutier