17 Songs, 42 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

From Free Drugs to Hippies, the Austin band Harlem seems to be working on a theme. (How about Sexual Revolution for album number three?) This charming trio kicks up a ruckus with a retro feel, but it’s more ‘60s basement party than garage-fest. There’s a lo-fi, lo-tech vibe here, but the band eschews the current trend of oversaturated reverb and high noise levels for something more akin to an earnest, D.I.Y, vintage pop-loving aesthetic. A variety of flavors permeate Hippies: “Torture Me” has a Ramones-on-Top of the Pops vibe; “Pissed” and “Spray Paint” are direct descendants of garage punk; the wistful pop of “Someday Soon” yearns to be played on a transistor radio; “Stripper Sunset” is an undulant, howling guitar grind. Most tracks, like “Be Your Baby” and “Gay Human Bones,” find the band in a shambling, jangly groove that brings to mind 7” singles, summer barbecues and polyester, not to mention serious dance moves. Harlem has a little edge, but it’s just enough to cut the cake into nice, bite-sized pieces.

EDITORS’ NOTES

From Free Drugs to Hippies, the Austin band Harlem seems to be working on a theme. (How about Sexual Revolution for album number three?) This charming trio kicks up a ruckus with a retro feel, but it’s more ‘60s basement party than garage-fest. There’s a lo-fi, lo-tech vibe here, but the band eschews the current trend of oversaturated reverb and high noise levels for something more akin to an earnest, D.I.Y, vintage pop-loving aesthetic. A variety of flavors permeate Hippies: “Torture Me” has a Ramones-on-Top of the Pops vibe; “Pissed” and “Spray Paint” are direct descendants of garage punk; the wistful pop of “Someday Soon” yearns to be played on a transistor radio; “Stripper Sunset” is an undulant, howling guitar grind. Most tracks, like “Be Your Baby” and “Gay Human Bones,” find the band in a shambling, jangly groove that brings to mind 7” singles, summer barbecues and polyester, not to mention serious dance moves. Harlem has a little edge, but it’s just enough to cut the cake into nice, bite-sized pieces.

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