We and Our Cadillac

Hep Stars

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We and Our Cadillac Review

by Bruce Eder

The debut LP by the Hep Stars is mostly made up of guileless and style-less rock & roll. The Hep Stars were like a lot of English bands of the period, rippling through the harder rock & roll numbers with thumping efficiency or aping the originals on songs like Carl Mann's "Rockin' Love" without any real feel for or comfort with the words. Parts of this album resemble English releases of the period, in the sense that the group is covering Phil Spector, Carl Mann, and Shel Talmy numbers in an earnest manner, but they lack the originality to pull off anything more than going through the motions. The best song here is the Swedish Top Ten single "Cadillac," a hot, bluesy organ-dominated number that might have passed for a Gene Vincent or Marty Wilde song. Otherwise, the group works best with melodic numbers that allow them music to hook their work around -- "Be My Baby" as a guitar-driven piece is passable, and it and the organ-dominated version of "And Then She Kissed Me" come off best; plus, they throw themselves into Neil Sedaka's "Oh! Carol" with compelling passion. "Bald Headed Woman" comes off surprisingly well also, mostly because it's similar in character to "Cadillac." "That's When Your Heartaches Begin" is pretty poor, apart from Benny Andersson's elegant piano playing, and little of the rest works better. The bonus tracks on the 1996 EMI reissue are mostly superior to the original LP's, apart from their debut single (a piece of pathetic Euro-pop/rock called "Kana Kapila"), "I Got a Woman," "Tribute to Buddy Holly," "Summertime Blues," and "Farmer John" are all worth hearing.

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