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Moon Is the New Earth

Rose Hill Drive

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Album Review

Being a trio with a penchant for retro rock, invariably Rose Hill Drive have garnered many comparisons to Cream, an easy — and thoroughly lazy — reference. While there's no doubt those heavy metal heroes loomed large in the band's record collection, they are only one of many influences who left their imprimatur on the group. Better to think of them as a Jesus and Mary Chain for the millennial generation; like the indie stars, Drive borrow liberally from their idols, while retooling them to their own ends. "Trans Am" is the perfect example, an ode to the muscle car that roars down the highway in MC5 style, but is pimped out with a pop chorus and revved up by Who power chords, a power-packed bassline, and juiced-up guitar solos. Nor is the band a strictly retro rock unit, as "I'm on to You" illustrates. Careening deliriously back and forth between classic rock and old-school punk rock (with the first guitar solo seemingly inspired by Magazine's "Shot by Both Sides"), by the end it's impossible to tell the difference between the two. Elsewhere, the band embraces the angular rhythm of post-punk, sprinkles glitter over a few numbers, and slides deftly across the years. "Laughing in the Streets" gives a hard rock kick to the British Invasion sound, then strikes off into psychedelia, while "Do You Wanna Get High?" swirls between the latter genre and pomp rock. "The 8th Wonder" begins in a psychedelic swirl, but then suddenly sprints into Motörhead land, albeit one doused with pop. The driving "One Night Stand" is built around an R&B riff, but the feel is contemporary Americana, not '60s British blues. And so it goes throughout this sizzling set, with the band revisiting the past, only to transform it completely. With music for every mood — party pieces, highway tunes, headbangers, late-night blues, and anthemic singalongs, each song on this set will catch your fancy at some point, with every one radio-friendly. Rose Hill Drive have already played arenas as openers; one suspects it won't be long before they return as headliners.

Biography

Formed: 2003 in Boulder, CO

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

The mountain-set college town of Boulder, CO, has since the late '60s had a notoriously hippie-ish, laid-back vibe. In the '70s, mellow soft rockers Firefall were the city's main musical export, and more recently bands like Leftover Salmon, the Samples, the String Cheese Incident, and Big Head Todd & the Monsters have made Boulder jam band central. (To be fair, the Dead Kennedys' Jello Biafra is also a Boulder native, so it's not all hacky sack, noodle dancing, and patchouli.) This makes the...
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Moon Is the New Earth, Rose Hill Drive
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