Low Cut Connie

Hi Honey

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Hi Honey marks the point where Low Cut Connie make the leap to the big leagues -- which doesn't necessarily mean the group has grown up, however. Adam Weiner and Dan Finnemore retain a taste for the lowbrow, something that separates them from legions of overly tasteful retro-rockers and something that's evident not just within their lascivious lyrics but in the rock & roll of their rhythms. By trading heavily on those swinging, soulful rhythms -- a move underscored by the lead single, "Shake It Little Tina," a Tina Turner tribute worthy of its subject -- Hi Honey differentiates itself from the driving, old-time rock & roll of 2012's Call Me Sylvia but also the heavy blues riffs of the Black Keys, the only other 2010s band with a similar affection for the sounds and styles heard deep in crates of old vinyl. As Hi Honey makes plain, Low Cut Connie are at their heart a party band: they want to get you out of your seat and dancing. Weiner's pumping piano, alternating between barrelhouse pounding and a full-tilt Jerry Lee Lewis boogie, sets the pace -- rocking 88s do indeed give the music a bigger beat than just guitar and drums -- but the nifty thing about Hi Honey is how it's cleverly produced to replicate the kinetic sensation of hearing a stack of 45s being spun through an old jukebox. Once the rousing "Shake It Little Tina" fades, up comes the cinematic spookiness of "Diane (Don't Point That at Me)" -- its dusty minor chords accentuated by smears of cheapo organ -- which is countered by the compressed, hard-charging "Back in School." Other sounds straight out of '60s AM radio pop up throughout the album -- the fuzz guitar bouncing along to the Motown beat of "Taste So Good," the "Run Through the Jungle" makeover of Lead Belly's "Dickie's Bringin' Me Down," which also features guest guitar from Dean Ween (tUnE-yArDs' Merrill Garbus shows up on "Little Queen of New Orleans") -- but Low Cut Connie's smarts and energy keep this from feeling like a throwback. If Hi Honey is a resurrection, think of it as a rowdy revival tent: they're preaching the gospel of good old rock & roll sleaze and boogie, sounds that are always infectious when they sound as good as this.

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