Rock and roll by its nature can cover a wide range of emotions and subject matter. Whether singing about an anti-apartheid activist or roaring down the backroads in your Dodge Charger, rock and roll has always been flexible enough to encompass almost every situation with ease. But the most fundamental feature of rock and roll, and indeed all music for that matter, is that it has to evoke a gut response. Whether it is to shake your hips, tap your fingers on the steering wheel or take you to a place you’ve never been in the comfort of a good pair of headphones, rock and roll has always been less cerebral and more guttural.
The High School Sweethearts certainly managed to get my pulse racing with a sound that some may refer to as garage but which to me is pure rock and roll. I was lucky enough to receive their 1999 debut “Passing Notes” and their most recent 2005 release “Heels ‘n’ Wheels” and in both cases the reaction was the same: a smile crept across my face as I reached for the volume knob to turn it to the mythical “11.”
The High School Sweethearts play rock and roll with a definite nod to the era of Farfisa organs and snotty attitude but the effect is still liberating in 2007. When they lock into a groove like on “Cherry Hi-Way” or “Afterschool Special” or rave it up on “Vanilla Shake” and “Cat Got Your Tongue” singing about love gone bad you would have to be comatose not to want to get up and just rip it up in front of a stage or hell in front of your home stereo (do you still have one in this day of iPods?). Just because something is influenced by the past and is considered “retro” in some circles is no reason not to enjoy unadulterated rock and roll. If you do you’re just cheating yourself and letting us have all the fun. You owe it to yourself to rock out and there is no better way than to slap on “The Truth About Ruth” and have a blast. It is the essence of what rock and roll is all about and the High School Sweethearts have managed to capture that essence with style. Good stuff.
You can pick up both CDs at Get Hip Recordings.