Friday, November 9, 2012

Oooh, Shiny!

The Chromes.  The Chromes.
Love Muffin Records, 2012.  The Chromes:, or

If you wear your influences on your sleeve, you had better be good at what you do.  Nobody wants to hear watered-down, cheap imitations.  Fortunately, in their debut EP, the Chromes can be confident that they have done a fine job of making rock ‘n’ roll.  Recorded in the Buddha Basement in Brunswick (aka, Brian Hager’s house), the band shows off a variety of styles with considerable flair, all in a 1970s vein (with most of the tunes written by Hager), and the result is a fun album that’s worth multiple listens.  And with only five songs, that doesn’t take long.

It was easy to spot the stuff they love and listen to.  “Back of My Hand” could be straight out of the Cars songbook, to the point of using Ocasek’s familiar time stops, but there are some other, less obvious things going on as well, so it isn’t simply an imitation.  The same thing happens with “Little Evil,” where the ghost of Marc Bolan rose from my car speakers, and I was tempted to start singing the lyrics to “Bang a Gong.”  But I also heard some Stones in there, especially on the guitar solo.  “Talk that Walk” is half Aerosmith, half AC/DC, but it’s also a good tune.  

Regardless of the shameless imitation/homage to great 70s bands, they pull it off remarkably well.  The group plays impeccably, and Hager’s guitar shows flashes of brilliance in the solos.  Great stuff!  The only drawback is Hager’s vocals, which sound a bit too rough and raspy (although they fit “Little Evil” quite well).  Perhaps that’s just a miking problem.  In any case, the package is a good one (including the cover), and fans of the bands mentioned above should enjoy this thoroughly.  You can also catch Hager in some of his other bands, including Vanity Crash.

Personnel:  Brian Hager (vocals, guitar), Alex Ambrose (drums, vocals), Chip Ficyk (bass, vocals).
Tracks:  Back of My Hand, Little Evil, Talk that Walk, Nothing to Lose, Situation.

The Grand Wazoo

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