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Groovy, Dude

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on May 6, 2008 4:12PM

The Black HolliesThe Black Hollies take the past so seriously it's hard to believe they exist in the present at all. The band is caught somewhere where it's perpetually 1967, The Marquee is still serving up maximum R-and-B, and scooters choke the streets and cause road hazards as forests of mirrors sprout out from the body of each bike. Sitars still count as "rawk" and even the most die-hard pill head isn't afraid of breaking into an occasional skiffle beat, hackneyed though it may sound.

As you can gather, The Black Hollies dig the retro thing pretty heavily. Modern groups looking backwards to genuflect at a singular genre either totally get it (see: The Dukes Of Stratosphear) or fail miserably (see: 75% of the bands on the garage rock circuit). On their latest disc, Casting Shadows, The Hollies totally get it, combining chiming melodies with appropriately hyperactive drums, and pushing every vocal through psychedelic microphones to add that higher, wobbly timbre rarely found outside the latter part of the decade they so admire.

When you put it all together it doesn't sound new at all, but it doesn't sound like a time capsule recently uncovered either. Instead it sounds like these guys haven't the faintest clue any time has passed at all, so they throw themselves into their music with great heart and shimmying soul.

The Black Hollies play The Empty Bottle, tomorrow, May 7, 1035 N Western, 9 p.m., $8, 21+

Image via the band's MySpace page