Heavy Hawaii


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Heavy Hawaii's Matt Bahamas and Jojo Keylargo are two guys from San Diego who have pretty boss last names and also had a brainstorm that probably came at the end of a session of heavy cough syrup and a Beach Boys bender. Namely, what would it sound like if they wrote a bunch of songs that sounded like "The Girls on the Beach" or "Let's Go Away for Awhile" but slowed down the vocals and made it sound like the Boys were playing a set in a hall of mirrors. Goosebumps is the name of their first full-length album and also what listening to it will raise on your arms. It's hard to decide if these chills are a good thing or a bad thing. On one hand the songs are all very melodic, the choruses have sharply defined hooks, and the arrangements have a nice low-budget chamber pop feel, but on the other hand, the turgid vocals are unsettling and there's a very creepy undertone that bubbles through everything like blood through a bandage. If the Beach Boys or Jan & Dean had ever recorded a soundtrack for a cheesy horror movie, it probably would have sounded a lot like this. Neither band would have called a song "Fuck You, I'm Moving to San Francisco," though, so you know there is a modern weirdwave angle to their sound. The fellas may own a Ween album or three. At times, one wishes they would just pitch the vocals normally and embrace the pure pop leanings of tunes like "She Gets" and "Born to Ride," but that might dilute the queasy atmosphere they seem dedicated to and never deviate from even a little. They may want to change things up on the next album -- and could since the songs would sound great stripped of the coat of weirdness that drips off every note -- but for now they have made a sort of masterpiece of weirdness that makes you feel good in a bad way. Or is that makes you feel bad in a good way?

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