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Hilotrons

Happymatic

(Kelp; US: 1 Apr 2008; UK: Unavailable)

With no professional football team, baseball team and arguably no hockey team to speak well of, Ottawa does have some good but under-appreciated rock bands to its credit. And another one of this ilk is Hilotrons, a band that has equal amounts of ear candy and quirkiness going for it. Terribly tight and thus eventually infectious, Hilotrons emerge with the happy, Britpop “Lost in Yichang” that could have fallen from a Pulp album at some point. From there, all bets are off as far as direction, as the electro-pop fueling “Streets of Science” recalls a cross of XTC and Thomas Dolby with a pinch of Devo. The album is basically one-third of fully developed, standard pop songs but the remainder is arty slices of indie rock, with “Dominika” leading the way. A perfect example of this is “Lovesuit” that could have been the next great song from the now defunct Dogs Die in Hot Cars. This alt-rock vein continues on as “Deep River” brings to mind David Byrne when he and the other Heads was still a unit. No true highlights as the album’s consistency is the biggest asset here, with “Emergency Street” and its synth-pop robotic touches holding up its end of the bargain. “Caught On Video” meanwhile could have Ric Ocasek and the (old) Cars suing the band for enhancing a format perfected by The Cars. Hilotrons ace the final few songs with the same conviction the album started with as “Comrade Elvis” streaks along with the same panache as the earlier tracks.

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Originally from Cape Breton, MacNeil is currently writing for the Toronto Sun as well as other publications, including All Music Guide, Billboard.com, NME.com, Country Standard Time, Skope Magazine, Chart Magazine, Glide, Ft. Myers Magazine and Celtic Heritage. A graduate of the University of King's College, MacNeil currently resides in Toronto. He has interviewed hundreds of acts ranging from Metallica and AC/DC to Daniel Lanois and Smokey Robinson. MacNeil (modestly referred to as King J to friends), a diehard Philadelphia Flyers fan, has seen the Rolling Stones in a club setting, thereby knowing he will rest in peace at some point down the road. Oh, and he writes for PopMatters.com.


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