HAR­LEM Hip­pies (Mata­dor Records)

Pasatiempo - - Pasa Tempos -

Austin in­die rock­ers Har­lem con­tinue their quest to dom­i­nate the mar­ket of ana­log-garage-noise re­vival acts with this sec­ond full-length CD. The trio’s self-re­leased 2006 al­bum, Free

Drugs, was a grit­tier an­i­mal, more akin to work by Black Lips and fel­low Aus­tinites the 13th Floor El­e­va­tors, while Hip­pies sits snug in the garage genre’s mid­dle — some­where be­tween the mu­sic of The Ven­tures and the Vel­vet Un­der­ground. A more dis­ci­plined ap­proach to ar­range­ments and song­writ­ing — and per­haps an em­brace of Austin’s time-hon­ored cross­over-pop sen­si­bil­i­ties — re­sults in an al­bum that is equally ac­ces­si­ble to garage-rock devo­tees and folks who keep the Bea­tles on reg­u­lar ro­ta­tion. Michael Coomers and Cur­tis O’Mara con­tinue to share vo­cal du­ties and play switcheroo on drums and gui­tar, while the band’s new­est ad­di­tion, bassist Jose Boyer, fi­nally brings the low end to the rock show. Boyer’s con­tri­bu­tions ac­count for the bulk of Har­lem’s more fo­cused mu­si­cal­ity; you can sense Coomers and O’Mara try­ing to keep up. If you’re in the mood for mel­lower ma­te­rial with a surfer/Beach Boys vibe, “Spray Paint,” “Some­day Soon,” and “Gay Hu­man Bones” will set you right. If you’re looking for some­thing a lit­tle meatier that you can break bot­tles and maybe a few laws to, don’t pass up “Strip­per Sun­set,” “Pissed,” and “Friendly Ghost.” There is a hip­pie vibe here, but it’s more Charles Man­son that Wavy Gravy. — Rob DeWalt

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