Mister Heavenly @ Fox Theater Pomona – Photo by Will Tee Yang

I just popped on the debut album by Mister Heavenly titled Out of Love released on Sub Pop Records.  I’ve been in a state of anticipation for this little treasure box of songs since I followed (stalked) this band all over SXSW 2011.  It was all a blur but I think I saw their show at least four times in that week, one which you can read about here. Listening to this album is just like attending one of those shows back in March, as it’s exactly that same set list I danced my ass off to song-after-song.

The first song on the album is the loud energy filled “Bronx Sniper.” It starts off dreamy in a story telling sort of way, and then explodes into a heavily textured intense tune. Seriously, I don’t smoke, but I feel like I need a cigarette when this song is over. Song two “I am a Hologram,” has that signature doom-wop sound that makes their shows so enjoyable. It feels like going to a second Sunday sock hop.

The harmonizing backing vocals and hand-clapping beats, all key in the doo-wop sound, are very prominent in the song “Diddy Eyes.” Even the way the song ending just fades away sounds nostalgic. The song “Reggae Pie” sounds exactly like this, imagine you’re at a Man Man show and they decide to take one of their songs and do a reggae version of it. The song is a mix of that standard reggae bass line mirrored by a carnival sounding organ creating a circus reggae feel, and it works. It’s layered with the sexy raspy vocals of that ultra cool guy, Ryan Kattner (aka Honus Honus).

The playful songs “Mister Heavenly” and “Pineapple Girl” just make you smile with their cute little silliness.  The vocals in the song “Mister Heavenly” are divided between Nick and Ryan and it works out so well. The two compliment each other with both harmony and vocal style.

The majority of the songs on the album are a modern day flushed out recreation of that 1950’s sound of songs like “Wake Up Little Susie” and “At the Hop.” Nick Thorburn’s voice has that smooth, dreamy crooner sound reminiscent of The Everly Brothers, which works so well with this throwback genre. Ryan Kattner’s distinctly contrasting vocal rasp creates an interesting disparity when the two sing together. Joe Plummer adds those sock hop beats that makes me want to put on my black and white saddle shoes and my little poodle skirt. All together the threesome is a little super group, which I imagine they are probably tired of and loathing that term by now, comprised of the bands Islands, Man Man, and Modest Mouse. I’m going to end this little album experience by being really cheesy and say, I’m in love with Out of Love.

Album Review: Roxanne Hilburn


Artists: Mister Heavenly
Album: Out of Love
Label: Sub Pop
Release Date: Aug. 16, 2011


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