September 09, 2005

Hail Social "Hail Social"

Hail Social's greatest asset is restraint. The music world is already oversaturated with bands making music that sounds "like Weezer meets Spoon meets The Cars meets Franz Ferdinand." These bands fail to cause much excitement in part because they can't restrain the influence of their influences. The result? A band that appeals to the superficial nature of music listeners and a record that sounds so been there, done that that ultimately it causes cynicism among listeners who expect something more than stylistic rehash. (Let's not even talk about how frustrating such bands are for music writers.)

Though Philadelphia's Hail Social's style sounds familiar--a poppy dance-rock sound that's a blend of post-punk nor new wave-tinged indie-rock that never really sounds like either--but it's to their credit that they do a good job of breaking from the monotony of today's music scene. Though Hail Social is brief, such brevity ultimately makes the record quite succinct; the music sounds fresh and it never bores. The Peter Hook-esque bass lines are addictive, and Dayve Hawk's singing, which sounds not unlike Rivers Cuomo on a Howard Jones tip, is quite appealing. Whether it's a hard, upbeat rocker like "Hands Are Tied" and "Track #1" or it's a mellower dance-pop groove like "Repetition" or "More Time," the results are the same--just pleasant, intelligent pop music that's not snooty like Interpol or superficial like Hot Hot Heat.

Hail Social's mission is simple: make great pop music that's not too hard but not too soft, either. In this, they succeed, and what they do, they do quite well. In a sea of over-serious po-faced records, Hail Social is merely a fun record, fun for listening in the car and probably great for parties, too.

--Joseph Kyle

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