Harlem lets ‘Hippies’ invade

By Liz Keeney

Harlem

Hippies

Matador

Rocks like: The Black Lips

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Hippies

Matador

Rocks like: The Black Lips

Grade: B

The terms “Harlem” and “hippies” are rarely, if ever, used in the same sentence. When people think of the New York neighborhood, the stereotypical psychedelic, tie-dye wearing free spirits do not usually come to mind. However, Austin, Texas-based band Harlem hopes to change that with its newest release, Hippies.

While the Harlem reference may be questionable, the garage-rock trio lives up to its album’s title. Sounding like a mix between the flower children of the ’60s and the punks of the ’70s — but with the lo-fi style of the ’50s — Hippies is simple and catchy. Tracks such as “Friendly Ghost” and “Be Your Baby” highlight Harlem’s unique yet vintage style.

While vocalists Michael Coomers and Curtis O’Mara both have interesting enough voices to distinguish themselves from the music, after listening to all 16 tracks, they become somewhat repetitive, even boring. Each track is individually good, but as a whole, the album is somewhat monotonous, something a new band should be wary of.

The trio, made up of Coomers, O’Mara and bassist Jose Boyer, has been garnering support for the past several years in its home state of Texas through raucous live performances and its debut LP, Free Drugs. While Hippies still manages to capture the natural, free-spiritedness of Free Drugs, it is more polished, calculated and on the whole mature. If a band with songs titled “Gay Human Bones” and “Stripper Sunset” can really be considered mature.

Overall, Hippies is a good sophomore effort from a band likely to gain notoriety on the indie music scene — definitely worth a listen.