by Ewan Wadharmi
Contrary to what publicists would have you believe, Huntingtons are by no means “Ramones-core.” There’s nothing “core” and very little Ramones about them. If Ramones are the Beach Boys of punk (which they are), then Huntingtons would be the Jan & Dean of pop-rock. Since there’s no accounting for taste, it’s difficult to pin down what makes this inoffensive concoction so appealing. Perhaps is the brisk pace, or the pleasant arrangements. But even with gentle vocals that wouldn’t clear a nun’s delicate throat, it ain’t half bad. Their well-crafted songs place them downwind of Elvis Costello, but more useful than The Smithereens.
“3 Chord Baby” does have that New York mop-top inflection and the cool chorus: “It only takes one chord/to break a heart/make you feel like crying/and tear your world apart.” The clearly audible vocals employ lots of ooh-oohs and nicely done two-part harmonies. All the rhythms bop agreeably while the guitars ring and chug with just the right amount of fuzz, but the mild guitar solos are unnecessary filler. Singer Stephen Mark Sarro has a pleasant voice that he modulates just enough to keep it interesting, but no more. He likes that lazy, open-ended vowel sound on “the stahs in the skah-hy ah way too brat.”
Just as the songs begin to lose your interest, the finale, “The Sound of Inevitability,” switches into a Psychedelic Furs epic. A sweet, melancholy piano breaks the piece up, while the guitars build into a rock opera explosion. It’s a triumphant finish with rich harmonies. Well-placed cymbal tapping is the cherry on top. Secret track is an acoustic reprise of “Postcard,” and like most secret tracks, should have remained one.