Hello Lover

Mix Tape (Urban Camper Records)

In a land where 6-foot-11 mustachioed bald men are sexy, Hello Lover frontman Rob Dunlap is king. The very visible lead singer of the self-proclaimed sex-rock act demands your attention with his sheer being. But as imposing as he may be, he and the rest of the members of the band exist in the shadow of guitarist Tom Huckaby.

See, Hello Lover's sophomore album, Mix Tape, is a blistering, shoegazing guitar record. Sure, the drums and bass provide the slow-grinding groove on "Tired and Wired" and "I Love This Song." And, on "Orbital Underground" and "A Good Wrong Coming," the pace is so fast you can practically visualize drummer Joe Hardy's arms flying off. But the guitar greases and oils all of the above, making an album of otherwise average or forgettable songs quite a bit more palatable.

A good example is "Start Again," a medium-paced song in which Dunlap rarely deviates from a monotone vocal melody—certainly not to a fault, though. The lack of vocal variety, on this song as with the entire record, leaves more room for Huckaby's guitar, which cascades and echoes over understated, yet aggressive, drum rhythms and growling bass lines. It's pretty impressive stuff.

 
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