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The Out Crowd, Go On, Give a Damn (Elephant Stone)
Rock revival comes at us again, this time via the Out Crowd, who takes us back to the sounds of mid-'60s, blues-based, psychedelic garage rock à la Byrds, Kinks, Velvets, and Stones. So why, at this point, should anyone care about yet another band that relies upon such past glories? I'll start by saying that I ultimately find nothing inherently vile in such bold-faced emulation, rather it's the packaging that reveals the true intentions of those involved. Are they making this music simply to fill yet another space on the catwalk of über rock and roll hipdom, or do they just need to release their creative juices and have fun? The latter is the ideal and is most often overlooked on the ladder to stardom. If it isn't fun for the artists then it won't be fun for the listeners. A snapshot in the liner photos of someone's ass with a huge Rolling Stones mouth tattooed on one buttock and another person pretending she's about to lick it was all I needed to realize these folks don't take themselves too seriously. Guitarist Matt Hollywood, formerly of the Brian Jonestown Massacre, has been doing this kind of music since 1995, so the Out Crowd shouldn't be lumped in with all the Strokes-ish bands of now. Also to their credit is the modern tone they inject into the songs. The band kicks off the brief album (only seven songs) by tuning up a bit then diving into "Good Morning" -- you can almost see them standing at the foot of your bed, full band set-up in your bedroom, singing "Wake uuup!" like your annoying but endearing roomates. The music is undeniably catchy. The opening guitar line of "The Gospel" sounds exactly like "I'm Waiting for the Man" and morphs into "I Can't Stand It", both Velvet Underground tunes -- their lead singer even effects Lou Reed's drone. Jangles, tambourines, and Rickenbacker guitars permeate the record and, while we know it's certainly not the most original music in the world, it somehow hits that muscle in our brain that commands us to forget such snobberies and just dance.