Skillfully weaving together elements of psychedelia and classic rock with a healthy dose of vintage synth sounds, Hearty Har's debut album, Radio Astro, is the fruit of nearly a decade's worth of honing their craft as songwriters and producers. Brothers Shane and Tyler Fogerty may have a famous father -- Creedence Clearwater Revival's John -- and that may have helped them get their foot in the door, but they certainly didn't waste their chance once they got there. Radio Astro is a fun, witty, and musically rich listen that's constantly surprising and full of hooky songs. The album kicks off with "Radio Man '56," a rollicking tune that boasts a crunching rhythm, merrily oscillating synths, jangling 12-string guitar, almost gospel backing vocals, and howling vocals that nod to the work of their dad. Right away it's clear from the overstuffed arrangements and almost gleaming sounds that the brothers aren't looking to re-create the grit and grimace of CCR. This is a much more joyous and psychedelic trip with no extended guitar solos and precious little choogling. That being said, "Calling You Out" does have some chunky rhythms and raw vocals at its core, but they are surrounded by excess sparkle and shine. It's sort of like a CCR song produced by the team of the Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne and Kevin Parker of Tame Impala. The rest of the album follows suit with songs that rumble menacingly ("One for the Other"), head to soundtrack country (the twanging instrumental "Canyon of the Banshee"), hit soft rock space-opera nirvana ("Waves of Ecstasy"), conjure up the Coral at their brightest ("Fare Thee Well") and spookiest ("Boogie Man"), while elsewhere delivering a heady mix of solid rock, big choruses, and a touch of classic soul. "Get Down" is a fine example, sounding like a more organic and less goofy Primal Scream, while "Can't Keep Waiting" heads for the dancefloor with a lightly funky rhythm, rubbery bass, and frothy melody. No matter the sound or style, the brothers Fogerty handle them with a light touch and impressive amount of skill. All the time they spent getting their approach together means that their debut sounds like the work of a band who have already figured things out and are functioning at full capability. Famous father be damned, these two musical lads deserve attention and praise for what they created by themselves: first-rate, almost classic psychedelic rock full of promise and immediate delights.
© Tim Sendra /TiVo