BEST POP GROUP (1998)
We looked high and low for the successors to the hallowed "'Sota Pop" class of '94, but these perennial heroes remain the best thing we have going. On last year's excellent So We Go they channeled an assortment of sweet, '60s pop sentiments through the sonic soul of the Byrds, and that nary acknowledged pop influence, Simon and Garfunkel. It may come as no surprise, then, that their next record is being produced by Mitch Easter, the Phil Spector of the Amerindie sound, whose work with R.E.M. and the dB's defined a generation of guitar pop. The results may finally catapult the Hang Ups into the national pop marketplace, but even if it doesn't, they seem plenty happy at home. Every time they get up on a local stage, whether it be the one at Lee's or the 7th Street Entry, the Hang Ups seems wholly content to render their guitar idylls as precisely and prettily as possible.