A couple of veteran musicians including JP Coffin (guitar/vocals), Ingrid Harper (percussion/vocals), Jessee Koehn (drums), David Olds (bass), Mark Stahl (guitar/harp/vocals) and Daniel Starling (keys/vocals) comprise Red-Headed League. They recorded their four-song EP The Summer Of Like DIY style and the results are raw, live sounding songs that mix and match styles such a swing with garage/surf rock tendencies.
Red-Headed League isn’t exactly reinventing the wheel in any way and they are worlds away from introducing new production techniques like that of FKA twigs but you do get served some solid songs that tip their hat to bands from the ‘50s and ‘60s.
They open with “A Little Bit More Than A Lot” which fuses elements of swing and rock. You can hear tinges of bands like The Animals and even Brian Setzer. It reminded me of something you would hear at a party in the late ‘50s or early ‘60s. The kind of music that parents would be worried about and the teenagers would go crazy for. It is a good intro but the band does occasionally at least feel like they are playing out of the pocket.
The band continues with an upbeat, old school vibe on “(Gonna) Put It Down” where you can hear distinct elements of surf. It’s loaded with tropes that you are bound to love between the lyrics, which indicate a breakdown like “oh kick it now” to classic transitions.
After two upbeat songs the band goes into pure ‘60s rock where the vocalist sounds like a combination of Jim Morrison and Mick Jagger. It’s rock 101 and not much more than that. I’ll take it. Stahl, like a chameleon, changes his vocal style to fit the energy of “Dead Cities.” He has more attitude and grit on this track that sounds inspired from ZZ Top. It’s a song you could picture playing at a biker bar in the early morning right before the sun rises.
Red-Headed League states on their Bandcamp page that they are “real, gritty and totally Kansas City.” I would agree in a way but the sound they have on this EP reached across the country and beyond decades ago. The Summer Of Like is almost like an homage to a time and place when this type of music was blaring from a transistor radio and being embedded into the fabric of American society.
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