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Monday, August 17, 2009

(the) Hi-Fives - Welcome to My Mind

Name: (the) Hi-Fives
Album: Welcome to My Mind
Year: 1995
Style: Pop-Punk, Surf
Similar Bands: Smugglers, Ramones, Dead Milkmen, Fabulous Fondas, Beatles, Ventures,
"One-Word" Review: punk-updated-oldies
Based Out Of: Oakland, Ca
Label: Lookout! Records
Welcome to My Mind - Cover & Sleeve
Welcome to My Mind - Back & Sleeve
Welcome to My Mind - Record & Lyric Insert
Welcome to My Mind - Record

Welcome to My Mind (1995)
  1. Welcome to My Mind 2:43
  2. Transister Sister 1:50
  3. Seven Years 1:42
  4. Gone Gone Gone 1:21
  5. How Narvell Felt 2:23
  6. Mr. Moto 2:27
  7. You'll Screw the Pooch 0:58
  8. Love You Better 2:11 /
  9. I Go Feral in Just 3 Days 1:30
  10. Angie 1:19
  11. Humping Away 1:52
  12. Let's Hear a Cheer 2:16
  13. Beauty Is the Mind 2:21
  14. Losing Sleep 1:40
  15. Out Of Control 3:18
Album Rating (1-10): 9.0
Members & Other Bands:
John Denery - Guitar, Vox (Ne'er Do Wells, Thee Shatners)
Chris Imlay - Guitar, Vox (Ne'er Do Wells, Thee Shatners)
Jess Hillard - Bass (Ne'er Do Wells, Thee Shatners)
Julie - Drums (Red #9)
Andy Earnst - Recorded, Engineered, Produced

Unknown-ness: I’ve never heard of these guys. I got this from the same friend who was moving and gave me her records she did not want. Right away, I noticed the Look Out Records label, and the English Beat like cartoon kids on the back. At least that is what it reminded me about. The name, font and pictures make me think of an oldies inspired rock-a-billy band, especially with the energy of the name Hi-Fives and the picture of the guitar that fills the cover. And in 1995, the style was just beginning to come back in a big way.

Album Review: From the first bit of research about them, they used to be another band that went by both thee Shatners and Ne’er Do Wells, whom I have heard of. These guys went to tour with some of the moderately big names in alternative pop punk of the mid 90’s Green Day & Pansy Division, Mr. T Experience.

“Welcome to My Mind” starts the album off with the title track. It is jagged pop punk with driving drums, fuzzed guitars playing simple chords, and nasally jittery vocals. The difference is the harmonized chorus. Otherwise the verse sounds like a c0mbination of Ramones and Dead Milkmen.
“Transister Sister” is a fast burst of quick changing chords and energetic pop punk. The speed lends itself to punk, but the vocals are excited, not angry and very non-threatening. You can hear influences of the Beatles buried in the songs.
“Seven years” touches into surf a little with repetitive guitar riffs and accompanying bass. The production of the guitars feels very much like a stereotypical guitar from the mid 90’s. The vocals almost sound cartoonish.
“Gone Gone Gone” comes off as a short burst of disjointed energy, featuring a whining guitar instrumental similar to Social Distortion near the end.
“How Narvell Felt” is a 60’s oldie updated to be even faster, grittier and “moshed” to rather than danced to. But sure, you could still twist to it.
“Mr. Moto” is a straightforward surf instrumental.
“You'll Screw the Pooch” is a very nasaly, very fast three chord energy releasing song. There is a fun La La La harmonizing section, but the song really sounds like any number of Dead Milkmen songs.
“Love You Better” slows the pace down a little bit, just a very little bit. Mainly, the vocals are a little slower, but that’s not saying much. It is a fun melody to follow along with, again, relying on ground set by the Beatles. The hook leading up to the chorus is the catchiest thing on the record yet.

“I Go Feral in Just 3 Days” begins the second side with speed and chugging rhythm guitar. It has a nice build to release as it approaches the chorus/namesake lyric.
“Angie” another fast three-chord, two section energy-release song. Oh and it features a short little break near the end. This is basically like a miniature song.
“Humpin Away” is a good combo of Devo in the bass line & a bit in the vocals and the Ramones again. Thus it is not as fast as the first few songs, but it is still quick.
“Let's Hear a Cheer” speeds away after a German numeric count off. Its fast, blending in with the majority of the songs on this album. Similar chord progression and nasally vocals. And after an early ending, it comes back for one more vocal phrase.
“Beauty Is the Mind” sounds like a combination of surf music and like a Mega Man level. It breaks down with some great production that has that oldies garage band feel the verse-like hook lasts for 3 visits, and gives the main attraction to the instrumental.
“Losing Sleep” begins with call and response lyrics, “Don’t’ keep me up,” which doubles as the chorus. For some reason, perhaps it is the simple structure or completely repetitive nature of the song, but this has been my favorite, or most memorable song.
“Out Of Control” finishes off the album with a vocals surf song. It is the most structured like a full song with longer verse sections that lead into the chorus. It is repetitive and does feel even more so with its placement after the song “Losing Sleep”

Stand Out Track: Losing Sleep

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