Something contentious is apparently happening in the bars of Northern Virginia. First emmet swimming cast a jaundiced eye at late-night suburban goings-on in a song called "Arlington." Now another Old Dominion band, ebo, offers a critique of a status-hungry local bar-hopper: "He dances cool yet looks absurd," observes singer-guitarist Dave Connelly, "He sings and doesn't know the words." The song is called "California," but that's just because that's where the offender claims to buy his shoes.
Some local groups would be on shaky ground calling anyone else uncool, but there's nothing gauche about ebo's second album, "Secret Weapon." The quartet doesn't have a singular style, but its songs are tuneful, well-arranged and skillfully played. Such tracks as "Rain Song" and "Machine" benefit from memorable refrains, canny use of dynamics and the modest melodrama of Connelly's falsetto. Ebo's lines may not be substantially better than those of most local barflies, but they come in an attractive pop-rock package.
Appearing Saturday at the Garage with Mary Prankster and Basehead. To hear a free Sound Bite from ebo, call Post-Haste at 202/334-9000 and press 8105. (Prince William residents, call 690-4110.)