Monday, August 2, 2010

Album Review: The Black Hollies – Softly Towards The Light

If there’s one thing I love, it’s bands that have a serious affinity for their forefathers. The bands that you know without a doubt were weaned on Ogden and his flaking nut, Lola, and the Carousel. Last year I lucked upon one such band, The Black Hollies, and have developed a host of warm fuzzies for their take on the early 60s British Invasion melodies and catchy as hell pop nuggets created by all of those “The” bands the bowl-cutted, mod-suited kids used to go wild for. No corner was cut, no trick left untried. Though instead of sounding like a mere cover band, The Black Hollies stand as an example of just how to spread your retro love.

Softly Towards The Light grabs you straight away. “Run With Me Run” has enough jangle to make The Kinks and The Hollies and even The Zombies proud, and retains that recording quality that makes those old records so very appealing. “Gloomy Monday Morning” is another gem, taking their retro jingling and adding some funky grooves for an irresistible romp. “Everything’s Fine” throws some psychedelic swirls into the mix as the song gently ambles along, serving as a breather from the near breakneck pace of the preceding songs.

“Lead Me To Your Fire” is a Roman Candle of a song, furious tambourine and slick vocals urging the feet to get on the floor for some rug cutting. And as with all the songs on Softly Towards The Light, the guitar is worthy of a mention for that sharp, perfectly-played sound, present here in one heck of a solo midway through the song. “Can’t Stop These Tears (From Falling)” shows a band wearing their sensitive dude heart on their sleeve, along with showing off a slinky overall sound. “Don’t Be Afraid To Ask” closes things down nicely, giving you more jingle for your jangle than you could shake your Mary Quant boot or your skinny tie at. “Don’t forget to get the last laugh before you leave,” quoth the band as “She’s A Rainbow” style keys are tinkled, and they certainly do just that.

When it comes to Invasion revivalism, The Black Hollies have their finger on the pulse. If you haven’t worked up a dancefloor-worthy sweat by the time this record is over, you obviously haven’t been listening.

mp3: Lead Me To Your Fire (The Black Hollies from Softly Towards The Light)

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