CD review/Show preview: Sons of Hippies, A-Morph; the Sarasota alt rock trio stages a CD release party at New World Brewery this Thursday

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Things get a little lighter as the album progresses. “Man or Moon,” “Dunes” and “Maybe Today” all carry retro ‘60s textures (tambourine, anyone?), the first delivering cheeky psychedelia (“Everybody’s screaming, everybody’s laughing, everybody’s waiting for the man to land on the moon / Is there a moon? Is there a man?”), the second an earnest and introspective waltz, and the last marked by hand-claps and a bit of refreshing optimism (“The colors are changing, I can feel the love running through my veins”). “Ladyhawk” starts out straightforward, its chorus (“Do you see us cut like a talon, fly like a falcon, bite like a snake?”) eventually diverging into a heavy roiling rock jam, Kelly’s murmured vocals sliding over crunchy distorted riffage.

“Stars” is the album’s only real downfall, and while it’s a nice enough track, gentle but insistent, it’s not the best selection for closing such a strong, well-produced effort.


Sons of Hippies hold a Bay area CD release party with two other 941 artists -- Americana rockers Have Gun, Will Travel, and funky hip-hoppers Big Blu House 9 p.m. Thursday, September 2, at New World Brewery; tickets are $8 (ages 21 and up).

Sons of Hippies visionaries Katherine Kelly (lead vocals, guitar) and Jonas Canales (drums, percs, synths, support vocals) introduced locals to their compelling, propulsive alt rock last year and even took home a 2009 Best of the Bay award for their debut album, Warriors of the Light.

This week, the duo-turned-trio (which now includes bassist Ryan O'Neill) celebrates the self-release of A-Morph, a dark sophomore LP that comments on the state of politics, the struggle to gain acceptance and be taken seriously as an artist, selling out and how easily money can corrupt, and staying true to what you believe in, all via poetic abstractractions that allow plenty of room for interpretation while still managing to get all the points across.

Sons of Hippies have continued to dose their fusion of punk, psyche and prog rock with low-key electro flourishes, opening A-Morph with a fleeting instrumental that sets an ominous tone with haunting vocal cries and minimal guitar before it launches into the fast-paced aggression of “Jab Away.” Kelly’s sweetly girlish yet demanding snarl takes center stage here, and her own backhanded remarks are layered softly but insistently beneath it, both sets of vocals making vague reference to the government’s wicked ways, and brought to a close with surging swells of Sci-fi synthesizers. “No. 16” follows with grunge-flavored guitar and a menacing slowed-down rhythmic break where Canales takes over lead, hollering snidely, “If you have something to say, why don’t you talk to your mama? / If you get carried away, go suck a brick if you wanna!”

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