The 88 - The 88 (2010)

The latest CD from "the best band you didn't know you'd heard" (Spin Magazine), The 88, is another power packed collection of amazing rocking pop tunes that continues the tradition established when this LA-based indie rock band burst onto the scene in 2003. 'The 88' is filled with insistent musical hooks and irrepressible energy and trades studio wizardry for a tight, immediate, recorded-live sound.

It’s easily labeled "power pop", though that oversimplifies their sound. For one thing, lead singer Keith Slettedahl's vocals have a distinctly post-modern quaver and yelp. For another, their lyrics are allusive and opaque, not old-fashioned baby-baby-baby stuff, unlike the 60's and 70's bands like The Kinks and The Raspberries who they are often compared to.

Within that seemingly narrow range, however, there's a fair bit of variety. There’s the psychedelic swirl of Adam Merrin's organ and Slettedahl's guitar on "Center of the Sun", "Hold On", and "Lost and Found"; the folky acoustic tenderness of "Takes It Away"; Todd O'Keefe's Zeppelin-esque thrusting bass on "Won’t Catch Me", the funky bounce of "Dead On the Water", and the slouchy syncopation of "Diamond In the Coal".

In the end, the only really relevant question to ask about The 88's songs is which one sticks in your head, long after the CD has been turned off. Could it be the irresistibly perky "They Ought to See You Now" or the teasingly seductive "After Hours"?

As catchy as The 88's tunes are – and they are incredible ear-worms – they defy the logic of one pop truism: There are only so many melodies in the world. The 88's unpredictable chord progressions and odd melodic intervals lead to fresh new melodies, song after song. Acrobatic rhythmic patterns add a further spin, layered atop Anthony Zimmitti's unfailing kick-drum beat. These guys aren’t just recycling a mid-60s pop sound; they’re revingorating it with 21st-century wit.

The 88
The 88
Album art: 
Release date: 

1. Center of the Sun
2. They Ought to See You Now
3. After Hours
4. Won't Catch Me
5. As Far As I Can See
6. Automatic Brain
7. Hold On
8. Dead on the Water
9. Takes It Away
10. Diamond In the Coal
11. Lost and Found

Music label: 
Rocket Science Ventures
United States
Average: 3.8 (8 votes)
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