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Hifi Handgrenades - Carry On (Cover Artwork)

Hifi Handgrenades

Hifi Handgrenades: Carry OnCarry On (2008)
New Romance for Kids

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: SloaneDaleySloaneDaley
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Like Hellmouth, Detroit's Hifi Handgrenades formed from the ashes of beloved ska-punk/hardcore mainstays, the Suicide Machines (also ex-members of the Fags). Anyone looking for even a scant sonic resemblance to Rich and Ryan's previous band won't find one in Carry On but soon as you hit play you can.
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Like Hellmouth, Detroit's Hifi Handgrenades formed from the ashes of beloved ska-punk/hardcore mainstays, the Suicide Machines (also ex-members of the Fags). Anyone looking for even a scant sonic resemblance to Rich and Ryan's previous band won't find one in Carry On but soon as you hit play you can see why the band's partnership with Montreal's New Romance For Kids Records makes sense. It isn't 90's hardcore or upbeat thirdwave ska that motivate these guys but Cheap Trick-style power pop, roots rock and early 80's hardcore punk much like Montreal greats of the past like the Asexuals and Doughboys.

One might see it as a bad thing that "Cut Strings" sort of gives away what you are going to get on the rest of the album, but it isn't. The mid-paced punk tempo driven by chugging riffs; accented by melodic leads isn't an anomaly and neither is the tunefully gravel voice of John Speck singing lyrics of struggle and perseverance. Yet, the way these things are arranged in each an every song makes for an energetic and catchy listen every time. Even when the band picks up their pace on songs like the Positively 4th Street-esque "Smiling Judas", things are just memorable as ever with the hook "You're smiling look at your pearly whites, you're smiling as you're sharpening that knife.".

John's voice combines the perfect amount of pop sweetness and grit and really marries itself to the music behind it, so introducing another vocalist for the first time half way through the album is a bit of a gamble. Thankfully, Tony's cleaner vocals are a great compliment to John's and as their trade-off delivery in "Facing the Firing Squad" demonstrates they have a good rapport, which si something they will build upon in the future.

The final song on the album is "Detroit Has a Skyline", and yes it is a Superchunk cover. Although, it is hard to imagine anyone but Mac singing this song, these guys really own it. I know it is just a power pop band covering another power pop band, but they could have really dropped the ball on it. John's voice is a bit lower than Mac's but it suits the melody swimmingly and the guitar tone they chose compliments the song very well. Considering the song is about the band's hometown, a real affection for the source material comes across in the recording. It also helps remind us that as great a band as Superchunk was they deserve more cover versions of their songs.

There is something to be said for a great pop song, and Hifi Handgrenades know this. While Carry On may be an extremely straightforward record it is also front-to-back and extremely satisfying record full of interesting guitar lines and hooks that really stick. Nine original songs and one cover might seem a little skimpy, but there isn't a spec of filler to be found on the whole album and more importantly it has you hitting the repeat button.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
pinkpenguin (October 16, 2008)

Carry On sounds like it belongs on Cool To Be You... but i do love this album

strikeeverywhere (August 26, 2008)

A NEW PUNK BAND WITH AN OLD-SCHOOL FEEL!!!

www.myspace.com/mayasruin

Check it out!!!

blanktapesemptybottles (July 31, 2008)

that first song you mention sounds too eerily like ALL... what the hell?

greenerton (July 31, 2008)

you guys are out of your mind with the loved ones references. this sounds like 90s descendents, at least "carry on" really does. very strong stuff though. too bad their band name is horrible

INDW (July 30, 2008)

as a big suicide machines fan i checked these guys out asap and while the demos were really strong the album is, i don't know, just really missing something. some decent tracks but not the gem as I was expecting.

essenceoftong (July 30, 2008)

i really like this album. nothing too demanding, just 10 catchy songs best being carry on and detroit has a skyline.

happynolucky (July 30, 2008)

pretty good cd, i thought they were also pretty good live when i saw them with the foo fighters.

favorite tracks on this are "carry on" and the cover of detroit has a skyline is great if not better than the original itself.

skolarx (July 29, 2008)

the mention of Cheap Trick is funny since they share a sound guy. also i'm fairly sure this was recorded before Rich had joined.

anyway, great record and i think they are only going to get better and better

hubitcherkokov (July 29, 2008)

I wanted to like them, with the ex-Suicide Machines members and all, but man were they awful live. Jay and Dan were the heart of The Suicide Machines.

pierrebouvier (July 29, 2008)

hey swiftjustice you can order it on www.newromanceforkids.com

swiftjustice (July 29, 2008)

where can i get this?

Slacker (July 29, 2008)

I second the little Loved Ones sound. Good album. The album has a light sound, but it's definitely not wuss.

telegraphrocks (July 29, 2008)

I definitely hear a LITTLE Loved Ones.
Overall, good album. I don't really have a fixed grade for it though.

SloaneDaley (July 29, 2008)

The Loved Ones? really? I don't hear it. I mean both play punk influenced pop music but the type of music these riffs and vocal cues take from are from the 80's Asexual like I mentioned, Moving Targets, mid era Replacements. There is a bit of 90's alternative vibe but the Loved Ones have a serious Gin Blossoms thing going on and these guys are closer to something like the Smoking Popes if we are going for that era.

JaredK (July 29, 2008)

Sounds like the Loved Ones

MrStylson (July 29, 2008)

Very strong first album for a band I hope to be hearing a lot more from throughout the years.

SloaneDaley (July 29, 2008)

Jeepers I have some typos in there.

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