Friday, April 18, 2008

The Hiss: Chocolate Hearts

THE HISS: Chocolate Hearts
Dangerous Moves International

I first became aware of indie garage band the Hiss back in 2003, when their first album, Panic Movement, was released, and their first single, "Triumph," went Top 20 in the UK. I assumed at the time that they were a British band, but a few months back, I got an email from band member Todd Galpin, who informed me that the Hiss were in fact Florida boys who were now based in Atlanta. He told me that they were big fans of Florida Rocks Again! and listened to the shows on the way to their gigs, to stoke their Floridian pride and for general psyched-ness.

Subsequently, a package arrived in the mail with a promo copy of the band's latest album, Chocolate Hearts, in the form of a promo CD and LP with groovy, DIY artwork, as well as a copy of their "Don't Leave Me Out Here" 7-inch.

Now, I could give their album a good review in appreciation of their lavish generosity and as a quid pro quo for the high praise they have given my radio shows, but instead I'm going to give it an excellent review because it is a great fucking record. Period.

An instant classic, in fact.

(Unlike this review - apologies for writing it 11 months after the release of Chocolate Hearts, but, hey, better late than never, right?)

The album hits the ground running with the opening number, "Greyhounds," a raucous blaster of ferocious intensity, followed up by the title track, another, even better, slab of godlike garage rock. Recorded back in the good ol' U.S. of A, the record has added extra doses of raw power to the sound forged on their more English-sounding first record.

Other highlights include the kick-ass punker "Bomp Bomp Bomp," which opens with the spoken line, "Lookit them acid-washed girls over there," before kicking out the jams in the old school fashion; the epic "Yer Old Eyes," and the closing track, "Cazzy," which can also be found on the Psychedelica Volume 1 compilation on the UK Northern Star label.

The Hiss vary the palette with acoustic pieces ("Living Proof") and even some alt-country ("Straight Though the Heart"), but the band's rock 'n roll heart carries the day. They ain't reinventing the wheel here, but they are rolling and rocking it better than the mass of indie bands on the scene. I realized the marketplace is crowded as hell, but you all ought to seek out this record and give the Hiss some love. If you share my taste for the genuinely rocking, you'll no doubt leave Chocolate Hearts on your turntable for multiple spins, or in your car's CD player for miles and miles and miles. Oh yeah...

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