The Hangabouts “Kits and Cats and Saxon Wives”
I really enjoyed The Hangabouts last LP The Illustrated Bird and its crisp opener “Roman Forum” is one of my favorite songs. Now the Detroit trio of John Lowry, Gregory Addington, and Chip Saam are back with the psychedelic sixties as their starting point. And it’s a real flashback in the title track with its looping bassline and groovy chorus, but it is more than a period-style exercise. While Anglophilic, “Cricket Time” is quite modern and the ballad “Sinking Feeling” is a lovely mid-tempo duet with Molly Felder (Swan Dive). The first great song here “Evelyn Wood,” is a soulful gem with a hook that won’t leave your head soon, and great double entendre lyrics.
As the album continues, the song compositions get more sophisticated. Think Bread meets Fountains of Wayne on “12 Songs” and the Lennonesque “Selling Out” with its terrific slide guitar. Other than the forgettable “Mrs. Kite,” each tune here hits the mark, oh so gently. Other highlights include the sad “Sensation Overnight” and “Follow The Sunshine.” All mastered by the master Andy Reed. Highly Recommended. FYI: Kool Kat Musik is offering a free download code to get a bonus track with purchase!
The Bullet Proof Lovers “Shot Through The Heart”
The Bullet Proof Lovers specialize in shredding big loud riffs, booming drums, and Kurt Bakers howling vocals. This sophomore LP has everything the debut had, but now the band has a bit more discipline when it comes to songcraft. “I am My Radio,” “Aint No Joke” and “Not Your Toy” are great punk pop that is meant to be cranked up to “11.”
The thundering gems “Knock Down The Door” recall labelmates Watts, and the retro-flavored “One Last Night” slows the tempo just enough to catch your breath. But then it’s back to no-holds-barred rock and roll, “All I Want” being a typical example where Kurt states “I’m just so sick of feelin’ bad, baby!” Fans of The Buzzcocks, Cheap Trick, The Hives and The Strokes will enjoy this one. Highly Recommended.