Men Without Hats

Sideways

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Just when you thought you'd heard everything. Here we have an album of guitar-driven alt-rock from Montreal electro-pop ensemble Men Without Hats. Apparently, the Hats' lead singer/songwriter Ivan Doroschuk had taken to hanging out with Montreal scenesters like the Doughboys, who encouraged him to pursue his predilection for loud guitars. He had made a brief foray in this direction in 1985, but record company disinterest in the idea had pushed him back to electro-pop. Now that grungy guitars and alternative rock were all the rage, the idea seemed more viable to all concerned. Overall, it must be said, the Hats weren't as well-suited to this sound. Still, the record had its moments, with Ivan's distinctive voice and way with a melody helping to retain a little of the earlier Hats sound. Having covered Abba's "S.O.S." on their previous album, the Hats now delivered a guitar-driven cover of the Beatles' "I Am the Walrus." Not their strongest record by any means, but they gave it their best shot, and the title track got plenty of exposure in Canada (the album wasn't released in the U.S.).

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