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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

(the) Real Heroes - Greetings from Russia

Name: (the) Real Heroes
Album: Greetings from Russia
Year: 2005
Style: Glam Pop, Pub Rock, Alternative
Similar Bands: Velvet Underground, Bowie, The Presidents of USA, Urge Overkill, Zeppelin, The Sweet, 
"One Word" Review: Barroom Sequined Revivalists
Based Out Of: Austin TX
Label: PCT Music, Rec Center Records
 Greetings from Russia - Cover
Greetings from Russia - Back & CD
Greetings from Russia (2005)
  1. Elise, Elise 2:58
  2. The French Song 4:37
  3. Adjust Your Nightmare 4:16
  4. Ghost Tonight 3:06
  5. Animals, Animals, Animals 6:14
  6. Me is the Drug 3:37
  7. Move That Strut 3:00
  8. Beeswax 4:04
  9. You Medicate Me Baby 2:57
  10. All Made Up Friends 3:13
Album Rating (1-10): 7.5

Members & Other Bands:
Benjamin Hotchkiss - Vox, Guitars, Piano, Producer (Duckhills, Bongo Hate, Skyrocket)
Paul English - Lead Guitar, Vox (Skyrocket)
Kenneth Dowling - Bass, Vox
Kyle Crusham - Guitar, Synth, Vox, Production
Joey Spivey - Drums
Darin Murano - Photograph

Unknown-ness: I've never heard of this band. But the back of the record says it all with mid 00's style angular dance pop being the main critique, with a little Bowie comparison. Sounds good, but those are some high bars to reach, and there was an abundance of bands like that trying to break the surface back then.

Album Review: Real Heroes were a small three album band from Austin who reached peak potential in 2005 when their CD was released in Target stores. This version appears to be an edited version, perhaps the Target version, as the curse words are faded down in the final production.

“Elise, Elise” sounds like it is going to start out as an angular post punk band with the guitar. But the vocals have much more diverse energy and a The Presidents of the USA – meets Ted Leo style (which is comes off as a little embarrassing). They have some solid pub rock guitar solos, and a gritty sound.
“The French Song” is a quiet, relaxed song in comparison, evoking a little slyness like if Urge Overkill would cover “Watching The Detectives,” or maybe a little like Spoon’s earlier stripped down material. Lyrically, it is sexually forward, but I don’t feel the confidence it would need to come across as justified.
“Adjust Your Nightmare” is a guitar heavy, slow plodding, limp foot dragging song. It maintains the quiet reserve from the prior song, and stumbles around like alternative songs used to build. The vocals are full of emotion, and evoke a comparison to Led Zeppelin done in a Glam style.
“Ghost Tonight” pulses in with a beating keyboard. Power guitar chords support a soaring Glam / Detroit Rock music style vocal.
“Animals, Animals, Animals” starts out slow and drowsy, with a fast tapping drum. This is the first instance where the vocals fade down, assuming for cursing. The song floats along, kind of like a ballad, but with an uncomfortable, unfinished start stopping energy, channeling a little Bowie. The song takes a long time to end, stringing itself along on a couple piano notes and finger snaps. It regroups, and finishes out with an unnecessary, jammy classic rock section.

“Me is the Drug” is a fast, “Whole Lotta Love” paced power pop number, mixed with a glammed up “Ballroom Blitz.” I imagine this would be a fun song to perform live, with a sweaty result.
“Move That Strut” comes back to a more straightforward power pop intro, with Lou Reed Velvet Underground style lead vocals. Maybe a little Kinks too. The only problem is that it does not take advantage of the build into a satisfying chorus delivery. The monotone spoken vocals suck all the momentum from the bridge with “Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah’s” Otherwise, it could have been a solid power pop song.
“Beeswax” buzzes in with feedback and smooths out for a keyboard driven mellow pop song. The chorus reminds me of Guided By Voices, and is quite catchy. The vocals are delicate and wispy enough to disappear at any notice. But the chorus has a harmonized backing vocal, and some general alternative production in chord strength and a slacker melody. But this is probably the most straightforward and catchy song.
“You Medicate Me Baby” begins with a jangly hook, and crooning vocals (that try a little too much to be smooth) sung with a Shins-like melody. It never really builds into much more than the simple verse and melodic drifting, even if the jangly guitar continues on through the entire song unchanging.
“All Made Up Friends” has a marching drum beat and bass line to introduce the song. The Glam vocal melody is sung as if through a megaphone in back of the studio in a whiny, straining to be heard. The chorus repeats often, as the verse becomes truncated. It is a song with a fun, throw-away energy.

Stand-Out Track: Beeswax

Austin Chronicle
Lubbock Avalanche Journal
Rate Your Music
PCT Music
without sound
Hotchkiss 2013 interview

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