The Hanks

Your New Attraction

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This Los Angeles-based band got itself off to something of a slow start as a college duo in 1999. Eventually growing into a quartet, the Hanks made several self-produced albums that had no distribution outside of the band's shows and website. But in 2006, they played at South by Southwest and caught the attention of the Cobra Music label, which agreed to reissue this, the band's first album, and distribute it nationally. Your New Attraction showcases a band that knows what it wants to sound like and is tantalizingly close to achieving its goals -- close enough to be fully energized but not yet complacent. The Hanks work in a scrappy pop-punk vein that occasionally edges over into punky reggae and makes surprisingly frequent use of triple meters. Singer Josh Grondin's vocal style is maybe just a little bit too California, and most of these songs could be cut by about 45 seconds, but there's not a bad track on this album, and several are roughly brilliant. These include the slightly snotty "The Only Thing Real," the cool and minor-key "Turn Around," the faintly menacing and faintly Spanish "Dirty Lens," and the swinging "Sometimes." Less impressive is "Luggage Versus Baggage," with its slightly drunken twelve/eight rhythm and wimpy falsetto vocal. This is clearly going to be a band worth watching.

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