Silver Lake’s Possum Dixon has toiled through a handful of excellent but overlooked pop-rock recordings and untold miles logged on the concert trail, with little to show since its 1993 alternative-radio hit “Watch the Girl Destroy Me.” With last week’s release of its smart, Ric Ocasek-produced album, “New Sheets” (Interscope), the resilient band-that-should appears primed for some overdue acclaim.
The group’s music rivals the Velvet Underground for singer-songwriter Rob Zabrecky’s wry, observational delivery and, with a driving, classic American pop sound, the Replacements. But the dark edge — inspired in part, no doubt, by the suicide of Zabrecky’s wife a couple years ago — is more subtle here than with those two groups, perhaps due to Possum Dixon’s laid-back L.A. footing.
At the near-full Roxy, the quartet gave a rousing homecoming performance that avoided the running-out-of-gas pacing that has often swamped previous shows. Melodic hints of Ocasek’s former band, the Cars, cropped up occasionally, giving the songs a memorable signature that was often missing in their older material.
Propulsive and compact new tunes like “Firecracker,” the Velvet Undergroundish “Now What?” and show-opening anthem “Only in the Summertime” revealed a veteran and embattled band that continues to move in the right direction, reaffirming that the best music is often made on the heels of hardship.