The 88: Over and Over

="Description" CONTENT="The 88, Over and Over (Mootron/EMK)

Sophomore record by L.A. pop quintet bolsters the band's charm with some pliant brawn.

The 88

Over and Over

US Release Date: 2005-09-20
UK Release Date: Available as import
Amazon affiliate

Los Angeles, reject your Whiskeys and your walks of fame, your Viper Rooms and hair bands and dens of exclusivity. Dismiss those pay-to-play free-for-all shakedowns as nothing more than bad ideas and pretend power trips. Child's play is what it is, and furthermore, there's some honest truth in them thar Hollywood Hills.

Continue to boast of your winterless winters and infallible sunshine, for those are the undeniable elements that attract the rest of us to your magnetic pull of possibilities. Lobby for the residual side effects such geographic blessings afford. Count the 88 as a blessing worthy of your boasts.

You can sing so sweetly, Los Angeles, as a band as wide-eyed and devilish as the 88 proves. You can stomp your feet in Face to Face tantrums, catch the breeze of Jackson Browne's reasonable heat or Warren Zevon's surly wit, and stumble through arena-sized intersections with the platformed panache of Marc Bolan. Let the 88 show you how.

Over and Over is another collection of robust California pop songs by the L.A. quintet, a band that intimately knows the touchstones of British and American rock, not to mention one whose lead singer (Keith Slettedahl) sounds like he just stepped off the British Invasion boat. It's a more confident album than the 88's 2003 debut Kind of Light: Over and Over tones the muscles of its predecessor's strengths, bolstering the band's charm with some pliant brawn.

"All 'Cause of You" and "Coming Home" pump up the 88's trademark carefree bounce (on loan from the Kinks' "Sunny Afternoon", one of many points of reference coursing through the album's bloodstream) with grit and intensity. The gleefully acidic "Nobody Cares" salts its barrelhouse romp with some "Magic Bus" percussion, while "Head Cut Off" makes instrumental nods to Radiohead and the Beatles via strangled guitar trills and piano punctuations, respectively. The record's greatest moments are those when the pop is pushed to a white-out boiling point: "Bowls", "Everybody Loves Me", and "Not Enough" turn the infectious into the infected, their choruses ballooning into unrestrained pomp.

The 88's publicity machine is firing on all cylinders now, building upon the good homegrown buzz for the band's debut with song placements in a bevy of television shows. It's a fairly safe bet to assume that the band will realize a respectable level of notoriety, the very kind of notoriety that L.A. is built on. For good reason, too — the 88 makes the sort of effortless, embraceable pop that can easily flatter whatever tainted image its hometown harbors. "I've got the West coast sunshine / But it don't mean a thing," Slettedahl sings on "Hide Another Mistake". OK, we've got that down; now go give the rest of the world another reason to wish it lived in your neighborhood.


In Americana music the present is female. Two-thirds of our year-end list is comprised of albums by women. Here, then, are the women (and a few men) who represented the best in Americana in 2017.

If a single moment best illustrates the current divide between Americana music and mainstream country music, it was Sturgill Simpson busking in the street outside the CMA Awards in Nashville. While Simpson played his guitar and sang in a sort of renegade-outsider protest, Garth Brooks was onstage lip-syncindg his way to Entertainer of the Year. Americana music is, of course, a sprawling range of roots genres that incorporates traditional aspects of country, blues, soul, bluegrass, etc., but often represents an amalgamation or reconstitution of those styles. But one common aspect of the music that Simpson appeared to be championing during his bit of street theater is the independence, artistic purity, and authenticity at the heart of Americana music. Clearly, that spirit is alive and well in the hundreds of releases each year that could be filed under Americana's vast umbrella.

Keep reading... Show less

From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.

60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less

This week on our games podcast, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

This week, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

Keep reading... Show less

Gabin's Maigret lets everyone else emote, sometimes hysterically, until he vents his own anger in the final revelations.

France's most celebrated home-grown detective character is Georges Simenon's Inspector Jules Maigret, an aging Paris homicide detective who, phlegmatically and unflappably, tracks down murderers to their lairs at the center of the human heart. He's invariably icon-ified as a shadowy figure smoking an eternal pipe, less fancy than Sherlock Holmes' curvy calabash but getting the job done in its laconic, unpretentious, middle-class manner.

Keep reading... Show less

Multi-tasking on your smart phone consumes too many resources, including memory, and can cause the system to "choke". Imagine what it does to your brain.

In the simplest of terms, Adam Gazzaley and Larry D. Rosen's The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World is a book about technology and the distractions that often accompany it. This may not sound like anything earth shattering. A lot of people have written about this subject. Still, this book feels a little different. It's a unique combination of research, data, and observation. Equally important, it doesn't just talk about the problem—it suggests solutions.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.