Friday, July 27, 2007

The Black Hollies – Crimson Reflections (Ernest Jennings Record Co.)

As I’ve said in the past, modern garage bands are often disappointing as some purveyors now equate “garage” with “sloppy” and “I don’t have to learn how to play my instrument”. Sometimes this style works, but more often it just sounds like what it is.

Luckily, the Black Hollies believe in good songwriting, solid playing and an imagination to explore the boundaries of a genre. And they’re snappy dressers, too!

I got their record Crimson Reflections (I believe it is their debut) last year – thanks Lutz! – but for some reason it got pushed aside and I haven’t really listened to it much until now, which was a mistake!

Starting out sounding like they’re gonna do a twist on Link Wray, the band then kicks into high gear with the vocals on “No Need To Be Rude” and you get a blast of fuzz guitars mixed with white boy soul, ala the Small Faces or the Spencer Davis Group.

Herbert Joseph Wiley V has an excellent lead guitar tone and plays cool riffs with his SG that intertwines with the tune and becomes part of the song, not just a “solo”. The rest of the band – Jon Gonnelli on rhythm guitar, drummer Scott Thomas Bolasci and singer/bassist Justin Angelo Morey - lays down the grooves and turns on the energy!

This is chock-full of rockin’ tunes, so I’m not gonna run through the list, but just mention a couple. “You’ve Been Gone Too Long” is a wild 2 guitar riff rocker that’s gotta be explosive live! But, they’re also not afraid to play with dynamics and show that they can build tension when they need to as well as shout in your face! In “Eyes of Mermaide” they sound like a more psychedelic version of the Jeff Beck Group, which makes for an interesting and different ending to the record and shows that they dig a wide variety of 60’s sounds! Funnily enough, as the last song fades out, they stick in a snippet of the first tune so that you will want to start all over!

With nods to the Jam (“Get Yourself Together, Girl”) and an overall sound similar to early Mooney Suzuki, these Jersey City cats have what it takes to take over the current mod/garage scene! Their My Space page doesn’t list any current shows, but hopefully they’ll do some touring and give the rest of the country a taste of their tones!

Check out the Black Hollies My Space page here.


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