The Black Halos (Die Young Stay Pretty/Sub Pop)
Reviewed by Greg Beets, Fri., March 17, 2000
The Black Halos
(Die Young Stay Pretty/Sub Pop)As any and all forms of Seventies-era rock are exhumed for another go-round, awareness of the fine line between reverence and retread becomes as crucial as having a friend who runs a vintage store. Vancouver's Black Halos (formerly the Black Market Babies) deftly negotiate this line with super-pop hooks and hosanna-worthy energy that conjures the spirit of Stiv Bators without aping him outright. Perhaps the finest case in point is "Retro World," an anthem-quality blast that offers itself up as shrugging but worthy consolation for rock's alleged stultification. Vocalist Billy Hopeless sings in a raspy sneer that sounds especially devil-may-care when he wraps his pipes around desolate ditties like "Fucked From the Start" and "The Ugly Truth." The quintet is well schooled in the hold-and-release tactics that make rooms explode in sweaty affirmation, eschewing empty innovation for the same time-tested formula that worked for Guns 'N' Roses during the previous doggerel days of rock: catchy tunes, hyperkinetic delivery, and a supertanker full of attitude. They approach their mission with a ribald brand of enthusiasm that easily transcends the revival that sprung 'em (Friday, March 17, Emo's Main Room, 9pm).