1-800-Band: High Beams

by Alex Monzel

Meet the Brooklyn born quartet, 1-800-Band, who describe themselves much better than I ever could: “work like bitches all night long, play music all day.” They have just released their sophomore LP, High Beams, on Slow Gold Zebra and Almost Ready Records.

The record is simply fun. 1-800-Band has all the trademarks of a group who don’t take themselves too seriously, from the ridiculous name to the about page on their website. They seem like the kind of people you just want to hangout and be friends with. But if “Do It Again” is any indication of how they’re like in relationships, then they’re probably not the people you want to date.

High Beams‘s opening tracks greet you with energetic beats and simple chord progressions to seat you comfortably in the backseat as it takes you on a drive. The lyrics are entertaining and don’t require any sort of commitment, rather what really grabs your attention is the subtle nuances presented by the keyboard. Often used sparingly, whenever they become a more prominent feature of the track, they tend to re-engage the listener with some new sound to complement the distorted guitars and powerful vocals.

1-800-Band’s style is reminiscent of The Cars and, in a more general sense, of most rock in that era. The one thing that really sets this band apart from their influencers is their ability to blend the form of their predecessors with their own unique (and more modern) sound as displayed in “Rhubarb Kids,” the album’s sixth track, which features keyboardist Polly Watson singing lead vocals. I’ve never bought rhubarb, and I don’t think I ever will if all the salespeople sound that frightening.

The final tracks, while not particularly noteworthy, provide some contrast to the driving sound of the first half of the album to wrap up what turned out to be a rather well paced LP. Distracting yet memorable, High Beams is just an enjoyable record. I don’t often keep the albums that I review on my phone, but I’m most certainly keeping this one.

Rating: 8.5/10

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