Review: ‘Possum Dixon’

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.

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.

Possum Dixon

Rock 'n' roll; Roxy, Los Angeles; 450 capacity; $12

Production

Presented by Goldenvoice. Reviewed Aug. 14, 1998

Cast

Band: Rob Zabrecky, Celso Chavez, Byron Reynolds, Carey Fosse.
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