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Hentch-Forth.Five

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Album Review

The Hentchmen have been playing raw, revved-up garage rock in Detroit long before that was considered a shrewd career move, and more than a few musicians have passed through the group's ranks since it started playing in 1992. One of them was Jack White, who played bass and guitar with the band for a spell in 1998, after his stints in Goober & the Peas and Two-Star Tabernacle but before the White Stripes cut their first album. The Hentchmen recorded a vinyl-only album during White's tenure with the group and, nearly a decade after the fact, Hentch Forth Five has been resurrected on compact disc. Rabid White Stripes fans looking for glimpses of their hero's creative input on this album will be somewhat disappointed — while his Jimmy Page-influenced guitar chordings pop up briefly on two songs, most of the time White is just playing bass, and this is very much in the same vein as other Hentchmen albums of the period, such as Broad Appeal and Motorvatin'. But saying Hentch Forth Five sounds like the Hentchmen also means the album is lots of fun and rocks with unpretentious glee; "Automatic" will fill up your dancefloor in no time flat, "Me and My Monotone" lifts the key riff from "Roadrunner" and knows just what to do with it, and "Little No More" and "Club Wagon" burn rubber as they rocket toward their respective finish lines. The songs are hooky and rave up with style, Johnny Szymanski's Farfisa organ lines are invariably inspired, Tim Purrier's guitar and Mike Latulippe's drumming hit their marks with ragged grace, and the bass player is pretty good. Not good enough that anyone would mistake him as the star of this show, though, which may be why he decided to start a band with his ex-wife. If you're a fan of the Hentchmen, you'll dig Hentch Forth Five as another example of why they're one of the Motor City's most enjoyable bands. If you're a fan of the White Stripes, you'll probably wonder why Jack didn't bring more to the table for these sessions, though after a while you'll probably quit asking questions and put on your dancing shoes.

Biography

Formed: Detroit, MI

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Formed in October of 1992, the Hentchmen were one of the most popular live acts in lower Michigan throughout the '90s. Featuring organist/vocalist Johnny Volare, guitarist Tim V. Eight, and drummer Chris Handyside, the band performed a primitive garage band sound that utilized few instruments and referenced their heroes in '60s music. They began performing around Ann Arbor and Detroit, gaining a small but rabid fanbase. They released their eponymous debut and produced several indie singles, eventually...
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Hentch-Forth.Five, The Hentchmen
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