Thursday, February 24, 2005


The Capitol Years
Let Them Drink
(Burn And Shiver)

Last year saw the release of the Beatles boxed set The Capitol Years, which compiled the recorded material of the Fab Four from whence America first fell in love with them. Meanwhile, almost forty years later, a quartet from Philadelphia named the Capitol Years releases their third album, Let Them Drink, replicating the pop-laden innocence found in that almost mythological era. Coincidence?
Critical favorites the Capitol Years, led by popsmith Shai Halperin, may indeed be a retro-rock band but they stand out amongst today’s plethora of homage acts as a sincere and legit tribute to the mop-topped days. The second song on the newest release, “Mounds of Money” is reminiscent of the genuine excitement found in “Twist & Shout” while later on in the record, “Solid Gold” channels the bluesy edge of the Yardbirds. But this is not to say the Philly Four are stuck in the intimidating nostalgia of the golden era. Opening track, “Juicers” could be a Guided By Voices outtake while “Ramona” recalls the hip-swaying assurance of the perennial Canadian underdogs Sloan. Overall, Let Them Drink incorporates its influences and then channels them out for us to absorb from the thundering amps of genuine rock and roll. Let us drink indeed--to more years of music like this.

The Sights
(Scratchie/New Line Records)

There are no houses in Detroit. Just garages. Rows and rows of garages. Because the Michigan city, previously known as the automotive capitol of the world, is now better known for churning out a regular stream of garage rock bands. Surely there must be enough garages to compensate for them all. There’s the Go, the White Stripes, the Von Bondies, the Soledad Brothers, etc (honestly, the list could go on). And now add to the registry of Nuggets Boxed Set imitators, the Sights. Hailing from—you guessed it—Detroit, Michigan, Eddie Baranek, Mike Trombley, and Mark Leahey present us with their debut album of dirty rawk influenced by the psychedelic R&B sound that white people got so freaky over in the mid-60’s. Opening the record with “I’m Gonna Live The Life I Sing About In My Song,” Baranek howls and growls like a desperate man looking for immediate pity or at least, a few shots of Jaggermeister. The record’s first single, “Circus” is complete with an already-familiar bluesy swagger, demented organs, tortured vocals, and a mini-guitar solo uncharacteristically ripped out of the early-Van Halen solo book. Ultimately, there are unique touches sporadically flavored throughout like the softer Zombie hook of “Scratch My Name In Sin,” but you’ve heard it all before. In fact, if you currently live in Detroit, you’re hearing it all the time.


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