Monday, March 10, 2008

CMJ Reviews The Black Hollies' "Casting Shadows!"

huge thanks to Eric Davidson and the entire CMJ staff!

BLACK HOLLIES: Casting Shadows
By Eric Davidson

On their second CD, this New Jersey-based band continues to ardently ignore any assumptions that new musical invention is central to making guitar rock. Sure, it helps if you think you're adding to the genre heap with some tweaks. But if that just means throwing a synthesizer onto Pavement, Pixies or Talking Heads rewrites, as seems often the case these days, then maybe sometimes it's best to just stick with an expert enunciation of a sound—for the Black Hollies, it's paisley-shirt psych-rock circa-1968. Hey, there's a slot for everyone on the indie rock shelf. And actually, compared to their often bar band-like live show, the Black Hollies have taken some major steps forward on Casting Shadows. They drift farther afield from the basic garage rock stomp, and increasingly crib from the psych-end of the Nuggets box set with a swirlier mood and production than their 2006 debut. Requisite wah-wah and fuzz pedals, reverb harmony vocals and talk of tangerines and sprightly, mysterious girls fit as comfortably as a smart purple corduroy jacket worn at a summer bonfire, where, incidentally, this disc would work just fine.

Tracklist For Casting Shadows:
01. Whispers Beneath The Willows
02. Paisley Pattern Ground
03. Under A Winter's Spell
04. The Autumn Chateau
05. Hamilton Park Ballerina
06. Bruised Tangerines
07. That Little Girl
08. If You Won't Let Go
09. Running Through My Mind
10. Patient Sparrow