Black Hollies
"Casting Shadows"

(Ernest Jenning Record Co. 2008)Black Hollies - Casting Shadows

The Black Hollies have studied the masters. They have practiced all the tricks of the trade that helped to make '60s garage rock and psychedelica, like the smoothly melodic vocals nestled amongst instrumentation buzzing out of those old speaker cabinets. While anyone can get some vintage equipment, The Black Hollies take it a step farther, jumping off the deep end into a pool of trippy melodies, buzzing energy and shiny love beads.

The tracks of "Casting Shadows" flow effortlessly together, making it sometimes hard to know where one starts and another ends. Add to that the unmistakable feeling of déjà vu that oozes from each track, from the dreamily reverberations of "Whispers Beneath The Willows" to the Bo Diddley rhythm of the bluesy "Running Through My Mind" and the somewhat predictable but no less enjoyable '60s pop of "Hamilton Park Ballerina." The Black Hollies get about as loose as they will on the hip shaker "That Little Girl" while snarling electric guitar dominates, burying the vocals, on that track and its follow-up, "If You Won't Let Go."

Perhaps the most notable aspect of "Casting Shadows" is how perfect and how rehearsed it sounds. Each pounding drum rhythm and each tripped out raga-inspired guitar lick falls exactly where it should in this modern spin on that old psychedelic garage rock sound. While it never hinders The Black Hollies from sounding energetic and electric, it does remove some of the joy. Whatever the case, The Black Hollies' "Casting Shadows" is an inspired trip down memory lane that keeps an eye on the present.

B+

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