"This Affair Never Happened . . . and Here Are Eleven Songs About It"

Yep Roc

Three years ago, the Bigger Lovers debuted with an album that paid sly homage to the Everly Brothers, the forefathers of pop-rock harmonizing. On the group's latest release, "This Affair Never Happened . . . and Here Are Eleven Songs About It," the Philadelphia quartet covers a tune by the Only Ones, a British punk-era band that didn't follow the lead of the Pistols or the Clash. Maybe the album's rendition of the Ones' wittily fatalistic "You've Got to Pay" doesn't mark a major shift, but the Lovers do sound more like fighters this time.

Songwriters Bret Tobias and Scott Jefferson haven't forsaken melody, and such numbers as "Slice of Life" feature effervescent harmonies. That affair must have been brutal, though. From the cover's photo of a praying mantis -- notorious for its lethal mating habits -- to the snarling resignation of "Blowtorch," the Lovers are bristling. "Put a flower on my tombstone / Have a chuckle when I'm gone," commands the latter song. Yet the slower tempos that characterize many of the songs don't make them funeral marches. "This Affair" may be a little short on joy, but it's full of life.

-- Mark Jenkins

Appearing Friday at DC9. * To hear a free Sound Bite from the Bigger Lovers, call Post-Haste at 301-313-2200 and press 8102. (Prince William residents, call 703-690-4110.)