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The Highschool Reunion

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Album Review

Dutch punk-pop stalwarts the Travoltas give their Descendents-meets-Beach Boys formula a new wave facelift on The Highschool Reunion, the band's fourth stateside album and seventh overall. Long on the hooks that have made them scene favorites, the quirky synth-inflected title track chronicles knocked-up ex-cheerleaders and crack-addled football heroes of yore with superb skill, juxtaposing the broken hearts and thrashed dreams that followed graduation with an upbeat melodic punch. And the goodies continue, as evidenced by the novelty-like Rentals feel of "Out on the Streets," an ode to public drunkenness, and the blissful head-bopping charges of "Rushing into Tomorrow" and "It Had 2 B U." But the Travoltas do misstep with the synthesizer drone of "(All We Really Want Is) Rock 'n Roll," which isn't the anthem its title implies. Nicking the thump of New Order's "Blue Monday" and the overblown drama of Billy Idol's "Don't Need a Gun," the quintet lands straight in the heart of a tepid '80s love fest. "Class of '88" doesn't fare much better, fusing teenage breakup telephone dialogue with a sugary chorus akin to When in Rome's "The Promise." In a nutshell, things are all over the map. Just the same, when the nostalgia trip works — dig the band's killer read on Peter Schilling's "Major Tom" sung in German — the Travoltas are way cooler than the guy in those Look Who's Talking movies. ~ John D. Luerssen, Rovi

Biography

Formed: 1990 in The Netherlands

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The Travoltas formed in 1990, with founding members Stephen La Haye, Vince Koreman, and Perry Leenhouts joining forces after the demise of two earlier Dutch bands, Kriezus and Stillborn. With a sound that combines an energetic mix of the Beach Boys and the Ramones, with a dash of the Cars, the Travoltas have had a prolific recording career and sport an impressive list of singles, extended-play releases, and full-length albums to their credit, beginning with their 1996 mini-CD debut, Kill! Kill! Kill!...
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The Highschool Reunion, Travoltas
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