The A-Sides - Hello, Hello (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The A-Sides

Hello, Hello (2005)

Prison Jazz

The 1960's were a real time of turmoil in American culture. Our beloved president was assassinated, the Cold War between us and the Soviets was on high alert, and the civil rights war was waging all over the nation. It was in the music of the times that many Americans sought refuge from the complications and tense nature of everyday life. The Beatles and Beach Boys brought their brand of pop-influenced rock‘n'roll into homes everywhere, and as the A-Sides' Hello, Hello would attest, that feeling that we got from those musical giants hasn't left quite yet.

Hello, Hello is at its core an example of how good music will transcend age and find a suitable crowd wherever it does end up. Incorporating a good amount of British pop influence, the A-Sides effortlessly meander through psychedelic guitar work, bright vocal melodies, and deep harmonies that found such a receptive home back in the 1960's. The melodies are so bright they almost shimmer, at least enough to make Phil Spector smile. Simple and playful as the music may seem in parts, it still shows evidence of Spector's trademark "Wall Of Sound." Various horns, bells, and strings sprinkled throughout the album's duration add to the bouncy, upbeat feel the songs carry.

The joy-filled "Sidewalk Chalk" opens the album with some stomping and jangly chord progressions before you're struck by the sugary sweet vocal melodies. All four members of the quartet lend their voices to the melodies, and it makes for some memorable ones. "Park Avenue" exhibits lead singer Jon Barthmus' voice in conjunction with that of the band's other members better than any other, while also presenting one of the more memorable guitar harmonies. "Tall Buildings" slows down the tempo, but doesn't drag on as long as the album's 4th track, "Sorry Clouds" did, though that song cannot be sold short, due to the amazing chorus found amidst the reserved but enchanting vocals.

The A-Sides have recreated a solid piece of Beach Boys and Beatles-influenced psychedelic rock‘n'roll. They manage to dabble in Beatles territory just long enough to not be overindulgent, but long enough to have a solid base created. Through the jangly guitars, piano-driven melodies, and solid grooves are some of the brightest vocals you'll find. Some will argue the album at a whole extends just a little too long, but on a bright summer day with your windows down and sunroof open, Hello, Hello would make a great home in your car stereo.