This indie supergroup reaches way back in the rock 'n' roll time machine for inspiration on its debut, back to when doo-wop ditties such as The Five Satins' "In the Still of the Night" and The Monotones' "Book of Love" ruled the airwaves.
The highly talented, entertaining trio -- comprised of former or current members of The Shins, Modest Mouse, Islands, Man Man and The Unicorns -- has whipped up an infectious blend of jump blues, vocal harmony and hard rock that demands repeated plays. "Out of Love" could easily make Mister Heavenly a darling of the music-festival circuit, especially if "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" actor Michael Cera again joins them on tour as bassist -- or, if he's not available, Keanu Reeves. And for anyone still wondering what a hipster is, catch this band live and, wherever you do, you're sure to end up within hackysack-playing distance of a PBR-swillin' few.
Songs such as "Harm You" and "Your Girl" conjure up summertime escapades in tail-finned convertibles and duck-tail hairdos. The music is breezy, but like the double entendre in the album title (does it refer to falling out of love, or doing something out of love?) and cheeky cover art (crime of passion or suicide?), there are sinister undertones in the lyrics. Take the lines, "I would never hurt you / even if you asked me to" on "Mister Heavenly," or "I don't care if you'll never be mine / cuz I'm yours" on "Reggae Pie."
It's why the band refers to its output as "doom wop" and a "post-apocalyptic 'Valley Girl' meets the 'American Graffiti' soundtrack." Think Sha Na Na meets Queens of the Stone Age.
Bandmates Ryan Kattner (keys) and Nick Thorburn (guitar), whose other bands have toured together extensively, got together with Joe Plummer (drums) last year to possibly record a 7-inch record, but quickly amassed an album's worth of material; "Out of Love" was recorded and mixed in just 12 days. The trio's shared "doom-wop" sensibilities, a pervading spirit of playfulness and the contrasting voices of Kattner and Thorburn hold it all firmly together.