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"Watching the submarine races" is a euphemism for making out (and more) in a car. It's the kind of thing a cop would say to be funny when he knocks on the fogged-up window of your Chevy parked in back of the Safeway to ask what you're doing there at 1:00 a.m. This Submarine Races is a three-piece from Chicago, Illinois, fronted by Ian Adams, formerly of The Ponys and Happy Supply. The Submarine Races play spiky art pop that displays Adams's love for literate UK post-punk as well as the simple but sublime songs of The Easybeats and '60s girl groups. The group is powered by Adams's serpentine melodies, 12-string Rickenbacker leads, and adenoidal vocals, which blend the elegantly wasted plaints of the Only Ones' Peter Perrett and the nervy quaver of the Violent Femmes' Gordon Gano. Bassist Steve Denekas and drummer Paul John Higgins give a jolt to Adams's originals, which are marked by his lovelorn lyrics. On Hard To Look At, Easy To See, the band's second album, the Submarine Races deliver thirteen tracks that rock harder and are even more infectious than their debut. Adams's pop chops have never been sharper and his anglophile leanings recall the best tunes of Monochrome Set or Pastels. Denekas chips in with a lacerating garage free-for-all, "Let It Go," and the disc even includes a cover of pipe organ magician Korla Pandit's "Harem Bells."