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Hermanitos: First EP 

Hermanitos' debut release is utterly devoid of pretension. If First EP's oversaturated and fuzzy sound initially suggests filth like the Rolling Stones at their raunchiest, then you would be overthinking it. If the record seems like an amalgam of anything at all, then you would be overanalyzing it. This quartet's music is so intuitive and guileless that it's nearly impossible to critique it intellectually. Thanks, Hermanitos.

The EP begins with "Why Baby Why," which sounds like a lost radio broadcast of Chicago jump blues from the late 1940s. Then Lana Rebel starts singing like a teenage Dolly Parton as the band swings along. Rebel's vocal eases into pitch, ever so slightly flat, because that's just the right way to sing about the resignation that eventually follows heartbreak. And then 1 1/2 minutes later, it's over. If that reads as pastiche, it's due to Hermanitos' unassuming purity, a quality so rare it's practically extinct from rock 'n' roll music.

"Dove Surfer" follows with repeated choruses of "I'm in love, I'm in love, I'm in love, I'm in love, oh yeah!" and beats infectious enough to make the most hardened nihilist find hope in the world. "Hobo Jungle" is an elongated rhythmic chant worthy of Bo Diddley, and "Shark Attack" concludes First EP with several false endings and the priceless real ending of Rebel stating "ooh" after the music's over. Thanks, Hermanitos.

More by Joshua Levine

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