The Mother Hips

Red Tandy

When too many artists are cookie-cutter predictable, the more cynical listener can discern all there is to know from the first strum of a song's intro. So blessed be the band with the creativity to throw a crafty curveball. Chico-to-Bay Area transplants the Mother Hips do exactly that, deftly weaving the substance of seemingly disparate influences into some sophisticated, but not arty, songwriting. This new EP, Red Tandy, presents a near-perfect rendering of the Hips' formula: Americana/country-twang, psychedelic power-pop, and classic rock. The title track begins with a thundering arena-rock riff, transitioning to an idyllic, U.K. "Summer of Love"-glazed melody (recalling the Small Faces, the Hollies, etc.), and complete with sumptuous Beatles/ELO-style harmonies soaring over Neil Young's Crazy Horse-esque crunch. The anthemic "Colonized" has a hook similar to Alice Cooper's "I'm Eighteen," an achingly plaintive chorus Teenage Fanclub would kill for, and blistering guitars engaging in some limber yet terse exchanges. "Blue Tomorrow" juxtaposes bucolic country picking with feverish yet restrained six-string smolder. The only thing amiss about Tandy is it leaves one craving more.

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