We were holed up in a squat in the industrial part of town. However as squats go, this was what the Box-Car Children were busting their ass to achieve. Music of choice is Pretendo. The first two cuts make me think that this is going to be a pretty straightforward indie pop night. Soon the booze and drugs that make the absence of hot water tolerable are crawling down our throats. Two bottles deep in Chuck Shaw "Mindy" is played over the probably stolen stereo. I'm taken to that place where in hopes of not being alone at night you approach every female only to embarrass yourself as you fumble her name.

The evening moves on with some cuts that almost sound new but too familiar to the earlier selections on the same disc. When "Lee" makes its way through my ears I'm taken to that summer camp I never attended. These folks around me are probably telling half-truths about their lives, but I'm powerless to decipher the fact from fiction. Lyrically it may true, but musically nothing worth remembering is that whinny. "Cynthia" sneaks onto the airwaves and the psychedelic horror sequence begins. The best part about this little gem is the upbeat dance breaks between menacingly delivered verses.

Everyone seems to be having a mediocre time at this old industrial building turned abode. The evening has been filled with a varied selection of tunes from Pretendo and everyone would be more than happy to call it an evening. Then "Sherman Speaks" comes on. This seven-minute tune takes me to the desert walking scenes from Six-String Samurai. Then at 4:31 it kicks in with some power. The whole song took me like what I would expect a Robitussin trip to act. Mild and creepy at first, then your face starts to throb and pound while all your expectations of what should have happened melt away. On that note I passed out and awoke with all valuables stripped from my body. I knew I would return to be fleeced again. I can't promise your experience will be the same, but at least you can walk away with one track to hold onto.

Pretendo

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