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Much more than the Mod Revival band they're often pigeonholed as, Chisel were one of the best pop bands of the 1990s. With snappy guitar chords ringing with a crispness not heard since the Jam called it quits, they wore their influences on their sleeve. Coming from D.C.'s post-Hardcore scene, Chisel's audience was often left scratching their heads as they tapped their feet, for the band created a sound many kids hadn't yet heard. With tightly pegged pants, Ted Leo (who has since struck out on his own) led the band through buzzing, feisty hooks resonating with mature, bouncy rhythms. Most use the Jam as a reference point, but Chisel's bright sound reaches back further to the Mod bands of the '60s, and even to the R&B groups that inspired the original Mods -- indeed, they'd done their homework. If you listen closely, there's even a touch of Wire brimming in their songs. With a knack for lacing superbly-crafted pop songs with dangerous hooks, Chisel brought some fresh air and an igniting energy to a scene that was growing stale before their arrival.

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