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Crimson Reflections


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Performer Notes
  • Personnel: Justin Angelo Morey (vocals, acoustic guitar, electric bass); Jon Gonnelli (vocals, 12-string guitar).
  • Audio Mixers: Mike Olear; Alap Momin.
  • Recording information: Bee Jive Studios, High Bridge, NJ (10/2005).
  • At ten tracks running just over a half-hour, this debut from the NYC-based garage revivalists Black Hollies could be considered an EP. But the disc is power packed and by the time it's done, there isn't much left to say. The album is filled with snappy riffs and a '60s psychedelic esthetic borrowed from both British ("Crimson Reflections Through Looking Glass Mind" sounds like it was recorded around the Stones' "Dandelion"-period, "Come and Tell Me" would have made a great Searchers tune) and American ("You've Been Gone Too Long" cranks out a Standells/Seeds-styled vibe) sources. While the quartet won't win any originality contests even among contemporary bands such as the Chesterfield Kings who mine similar territory, they attack this music with appropriate raw power. You may find yourself playing "spot the riff" on much Crimson Reflections, but that just adds to the fun. And even when the group steals from sources as obvious as the Beatles (hey, there's the "Taxman" lick in "Get Yourself Together, Girl"), the effect is more joyous celebration than flippant rip-off. The tunes never overstay their welcome, nailing a groove and then moving on. The energy explodes out of the speakers and is as contagious as pink eye. Lead vocalist Justin Angelo Morey sounds inspired throughout spitting out his lyrics to these ten originals and the dueling lead guitars on the opening "No Need to Be Rude" are nearly as crude as anything the Sonics ever laid down on tape. Fans of Little Steven's Underground Garage radio show will eat this up, but anyone interested in garage rock's roots will enjoy the Black Hollies' animated offering. ~ Hal Horowitz
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