The Black Halos

Black Halos [Die Young Stay Pretty]

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Musically, the Black Halos' self-titled debut album kicks up a furious fuzz-toned racket, with hints of the trashy, swinging backbeat that powered the New York Dolls. The band has the sound down pat, but it must be said that vocalist Billy Hopeless could use a bit more seasoning. Most of the time, he uses an unnatural-sounding "rawk & rowl" accent (wherein "shooting star" becomes "shooting staowww," "some things are hard to explain" becomes "some things ow howd to expline," "around" becomes "a-ray-ohnd," and so on). It's true that many great rock singers have done the same thing, but here it sounds mechanical and forced, and after a while, it can really grate on the nerves in spite of the musical quality; Hopeless would sound snottier if he dropped the vocal affectations and just let loose and howled. Overall, it's a flawed but promising record.

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