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Hey Summer
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  • Recording information: Cool Devices.
  • When Jeff Burke of the Texas garage punk band the Marked Men was living in Japan during 2011, he met up with kindred spirit Yusuke Okada of the band Suspicious Beasts to work on recording a song. The collaboration went so well that the two men decided to start a band in the future. It didn't happen until they were both living in the U.S. a few years later, when they started Lost Balloons and released an album for the German label Alien Snatch! in late 2015. The music they made was a nice combination of Burke's frantic pop-inspired garage punk sound and Okada's more relaxed classic punk-inspired power pop sound. Their 2017 album, Hey Summer, sees them moving up to Dirtnap Records and further refining their approach into a more organic blend of their styles. It's still pretty easy to tell who was the driving force behind each song, with Burke's songs mostly being uptempo and energetic, like the bursting-at-the-seams "Not My Time," while Okada's contributions are more introspective and relaxed, like the melancholy ballad "Paint." While each proves a master of his respective domain, the record really gets interesting when their styles start to bleed into each other. For example, the jangling midtempo "Don't Find Me" has both inward-looking lyrics and a searing lead guitar, and "Numb" has all the energy of a classic Marked Men song, but the arrangement is closer to a Suspicious Beasts song with its acoustic guitars and vintage organ drone. The best parts of the album are when the punk, garage rock, jangle pop, and power pop all get mixed up together; songs like "Can't Win" and "Feed the Pain" use this hybrid sound to conjure up some real emotional depth and deliver something that will appeal to fans of all those genres. The first record was more like two guys getting together and trading songs back and forth; Hey Summer feels like a true collaboration that plays on the strengths of both musicians and ends up being something new and exciting, easily on par with their best work done separately. ~ Tim Sendra
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