Eleven

Hathead Jones

CD Baby, 2012

http://www.hatheadjones.com

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 01/25/2013

St. Louis natives and live favorites Hathead Jones dropped their debut CD, Eleven, in August 2012, in advance of their attempt to get on the Warped Tour. No word on whether they made it yet, but based on this disc, they probably deserve at least an opening slot.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The band’s sound is inspired by ‘90s rock, along the lines of the Foo Fighters, Everclear, Semisonic and so forth, with a bit of cheesy ‘80s synthesizers thrown in, and it’s clear from the outset that this is a band all about having a good time. There is a bit of power pop in “Sleep Tonight,” a Britpop influence in “Too Many Days” and “Change,” and a Hootie & the Blowfish sound to the history lesson of “Civil Rights Act Of 1964,” which is apparently the newest addition to the Schoolhouse Rock series.

This is probably one of the happiest discs of 2012. In an ocean of dour mope-rock, joyless electronica, and slashing power chords, hearing someone say “Beginning of song” in a Cookie Monster voice before the acoustic “Stumbling Star” or the South Park reference of “Gnomes” actually brings a smile.

Make no mistake, this is not a kid’s band, nor a novelty band, but more like a modern Barenaked Ladies with heavier guitars and “Downtown” John Seiber’s keyboards, which are a highlight of many of the songs. The guys have clearly played together for a while – this is not the work of amateur performers, just songwriters – and the disc is well-produced.

Eleven is the work of a local band that has jammed in the basement, played a couple shows, and then wrote their own music off of their influences…in other words, a common low-key debut from a local band hoping to take the next step. Nothing here truly stands out, but fans of breezy rock/pop along the lines of the bands mentioned above will probably get a kick out of this.

Rating: C

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