Harlem are the newest hot button garage rock export from Austin,TX who have caught a lot of media buzz as of late for their fiery, angular revivalism. Their new up-coming full length Hippies is a collection of primitive drum spasms and jerky, elastic strumming that mangles classic rock into a child’s play thing. Scratchy sing along vocals tear across forty minutes of wire-y guitar play, with occasional slight adornments of bells and pedal steel guitar.
It’s really not bad, but then again that’s their main problem, it’s not particularly memorable, it actually feels like a step back, or at least an ill-advised consolidation of their last album Free Drugs. There are highlights, like the swagger of “Gay Human Bones” or the perfect vocal melody on “Be Your Baby”, but at 16 songs that all sound pretty similar, I had to check to see if the disc had started over already or not. It’s really just a bunch of honest, three-minute freakouts running on bravado alone, aiming to be the soundtrack to your next house party. They’ve got the spirit, and sometimes they nail the scuzzy post-grunge slacker anthem right on the head, but they could stand to stray from their comfort zone a bit more, or risk slipping through the cracks. I bet they put on a fun live act, though, and maybe that’s all these guys are trying for.
Hippies is available April 6th on Matador.
For Fans Of: Meth Teeth, Black Lips, Jay Reatard