The rock revival ushered in by The White Stripes, The Strokes and Franz Ferdinand has generated just as many successes as phony imitators. Philadelphia’s Hail Social may be a newcomer, but they prove on their self-titled debut that they’re serious and ready to deliver.Hail Social hits hard with an evenly balanced sound; no one in the band outshines anyone else’s contribution. Dayve Hawk’s melodic voice and guitar lead the band, but he’d be nowhere without the tighter-than-jeans-in-the-80s chemistry between drummer Matt Maraldo, bassist Dan Henry, and guitarist Richie Roxas. Their influences range from the raw passionate rock of early U2 to the driving basslines of the Cure and Gang of Four. Bass and guitar take equal turns as the lead, showing a developed sense of composition and ability.
The opening song, “Hands Are Tied” sets pace with a hard guitar riff that drops out, allowing Hawk’s voice to glide over drums and bass. When the chorus hits, guitars kick back in with a dirty tone that adds depth but doesn’t obscure the melodic strumming. By the time the song hits the two-minute mark and builds into Hawk singing “My hands are tied” over and over, it’s impossible not to be dancing. The song finishes with a solo reminiscent of The Edge from the early 80s.
“Get In the Car” has a slightly slower pace and is carried by Maraldo’s funk-infused bass. “Track #1,” ironically falling about halfway through the album, is a driven rocker with Hawk’s punctuated vocal inflections creating hooks that sound anything but ordinary. Hail Social gives us a well-assembled debut that hopefully is just the first taste of greatness to come.