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Tales of Great Neck Glory

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Album Review

Like margarine to butter, NutraSweet to sugar, Sammy is to Pavement — a smoother, blander version of a classic. Sammy distills the half-mumbled, half-sung vocals, loopy guitars, off-kilter percussion, and sunny pop hooks that Pavement made their own in the late '80s, and slavish imitators that they are, Sammy can't even chart the heights that Pavement reaches. That said, Sammy's major-label debut, Tales of Great Neck Glory, is a fun, if derivative, album. Singer Jesse Hartman has a cheeky, knowing style on songs like "Neptune Ave. (Ortho Hi Rise)" and "Blue Oyster Bay" that makes the group's five-finger discount style of songwriting enjoyable as a sort of in-joke between Sammy and their audience. "Horse or Ballet?" and "Chilling Excerpts" in particular have a weird, jittery energy of their own, while "Buckle-Up Sunshine" lives up to its name, showing that the members of Sammy are moving away from being merely competent copyists to something more interesting. While they may not be the real thing yet, Sammy and Tales of Great Neck Glory provide some mindlessly entertaining listening.


Formed: Aguascalientes, Mexico

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s

Sammy, the heavily Pavement-inspired partnership of guitarist Luke Wood and guitarist/vocalist Jesse Hartman, released three albums before calling it quits. Debut Album, issued in 1994, and Kings of the Island Empire, issued in 1995, were both put out by Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley's Smells Like Records and featured drummer Tony Maxwell. Their final full-length, Tales of...
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Tales of Great Neck Glory, Sammy
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