ALBUM REVIEW: THE HANGABOUTS, “Kits & Cats & Saxon Wives”

The Hangabouts, a hearty trio from the Detroit area, have just unleashed their sophomore full length album, Kits & Cats & Saxon Wives (a clever title!) and this one pops and rocks in all the right places.  A melodic aggregate of John Lowry, Gregory Addington and Chip Saam, these gentlemen mix together pop, psychedelia, Anglophile influences and Nuggets-styled garage rock in a heady stew, which comes up aces.  Produced and mixed by the band with mastering by Andy Reed (of the glorious Legal Matters), the sound is neo-vintage.

Starting with the album’s title track, you immediately hear/feel the influences – a mix of “…Mystery Tour”-era Fabs, the first “band” incarnation of The Bee Gees, some Barrett-eque undertones and a sound that recalls the style of recordings during the late ’60’s; “Cricket Time” is more of the same, with crisp riffs and a very Roy Wood/Move vibe and I need to point out that the harmonies are completely one-the-one with these gentlemen.  “Sinking Feeling” is what, in another era, would be the single and features Molly Felder on vocals – a deliciously classic pop song with acoustic guitar driving the musical body and an early ’70’s vibe; “Twelve Songs” is pop sweetness at its finest with shimmering guitars, a keyboard melody underlying and twangy riffs interspersed (listen for the organ break as well); “Selling Out” is, naturally, Lennon-esque with the piano and vocal opening and the structure; “All Day All Night” has a Dwight Twilley/Shoes vibe and is a delightful throwback to American ’70’s power-pop and “Follow The Sunshine” is a lower-volume but is a fine way to close this collection – a genuinely warm piece that suits its title and has that “feel good” emotion.

For a trio, this is a very well-fleshed out gathering of material – and certainly, The Hangabouts know their craft.  They have all the right elements of a great pop band and at this point in time, that’s more than one could hope and ask for.  Mark this one as another “must check out” – you will be very glad you did.


Kits & Cats & Saxon Wives is currently available