Brooklyn quintet Robbers on High Street delve into ’60s Britpop and brassy ’70s rock on Hey There Golden Hair, the band’s third album. With frontman Ben Trokan acting as producer, Robbers on High Street have made Hey There Golden Hair into an album that manages to be both retro and novel, with a sense of effortless flow and unflagging energy.
Robbers on High Street sound much like The Beatles with a bit more grit. On “Hollow Hill,” a piano pop melody holds the song together, garnished with just a hint of reverb, rich syncopated guitar riffs, and a splash of cowbells in the choruses. “Second Chance,” “Watch Me Disappear,” and “The Man from the Turnaround” fall into this same category with their jaunty percussion, jubilant piano accents, and hazy background vocals. “Crystal Run,” a somewhat heavier rock song, has bass licks reminiscent of Paul McCartney’s style peeking out from under driving guitars.
Traces of funk make an appearance on “Electric Eye,” a cool tune that starts off with slick bass and psychedelic effects. Clapping percussion and grooving horns (courtesy of Daptone Records) give the track a real retro feel. The Daptone horns make a big splash in the chorus of “Hey Unbelievers,” punctuating exultant vocals and staccato guitar riffs. “Hey Unbelievers” is almost a ska song—it wouldn’t feel out of place on a Reel Big Fish album.
Hey There Golden Hair is a mélange of styles, well-composed and balanced. Robbers on High Street draw on decades of pop and rock conventions, but they make these musical traditions refreshing, with just the right twists and a little gritty zest.