Hal, Rough Trade)">

"Play the Hits," Hal (from Hal, Rough Trade)

These Irishmen, raised in Kiliney, a small town south of Dublin, bliss out to the Beach Boys, the Beatles, Buffalo Springfield, and Harry Nilsson, and have little interest in hiding their influences or saying much of great importance. Which must be why this tune, the highlight of the group's excellent debut, sounds like the Raspberries. "Play the Hits," like the Raspberries' "Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)," is about badly wanting to top the charts, not so much for the money and fame and sex but simply to spread joy to the young people. And for the money and fame and sex.


Well, they deserve it. Lovingly produced by Edwyn Collins, "Play the Hits" is shake-your-shoulder-length-hair-on-television- in-front-of-screaming-teenage-girls music, complete with castanets and sunflowers, tambourines and elephants, quarter-note guitar stabs, general bubblegum grandiosity, and totally aws sibling harmonies from lead singer Dave Allen and younger brother/bassist Paul. Dave's endearingly goofy falsetto seems equally indebted to Brian Wilson, Richie Furay, and Elmo. Some retro-averse part of me thinks I should resist Hal. But I'm sorry, Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that.

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