Online since August 2002

Great songs, playing

Reviewed April 2007

Kiss the Crystal Flake
Kiss the Crystal Flake
By The Mother Hips

Camera Records: 2007

To hear sound clips or learn more about this release, Turbula recommends viewing its Amazon.com entry.

Folk, country-rock and power pop with rich vocal harmonies and sticky-sweet melodic hooks, the new album from The Mother Hips is being labeled "retro" in the music press. And a decade ago, the same charge was hurled against the Jayhawks – as if making lovely music was somehow intrinsically tied to the past and a sin against all that is hip and cool.

The Mother Hips play hippie music on their new disc when you get right down to it. It's an organic mixture of popular and folk styles, built around strong, simple melodic themes led by the singing Tim Bluhm and Greg Loiacono, who also write all the band's songs.

It's hard to see how the music here can be dismissed as retro. Clearly influenced and informed by the whole alternative movement and other post-'70s veins, the only commonalities the Mother Hips have with '70s folk-rock are the emphasis on harmony vocals and instrumental virtuosity – which hardly ought to be the province of a single era.

Good songs, solid playing – if you like accessible, guitar-based rock with sunny melodies and great vocal harmonies, it probably doesn't matter how old you are: You'll like the Mother Hips' new album.

Review by Jim Trageser. Jim is a writer and editor living in Escondido, Calif., and was a contributor to the "Grove Press Guide to Blues on CD" (1993) and "The Routledge Encyclopedia of the Blues" (2005).

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