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Surrogate: Beware the Perils of Fame

Although it was probably never intended as such, Surrogate's "15" provides a welcome and soothing mantra for those wary of a celebrity-crazed culture. "So forget about the money / and forget about yourself," lead singer Chris Keene repeats throughout the deliciously low-key song. "And forget about the calculated risk that never ends well."

The California duo — drummer Jordan Mallory on drums and singer/multi-instrumentalist Keene — crafts a sneaky arrangement on "15," from its debut album Love Is for the Rich. With its killer combination of familiar ingredients (keyboards, drums, hooky guitars), it sneaks up on the listener, slowly but surely. The rest of the disc follows suit, with tracks that range from banjo-laced folk to simple pop to indie-rock — think Pedro the Lion or Sebadoh — as well as straightforward songwriting and hummable melodies. Surrogate may warn about the perils of fame, but that's a problem the band may have to face head-on in the months to come.

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Lily Percy