The Black Halos (Die Young Stay Pretty/Sub Pop)

SXSW Records

Record Reviews

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).

***.5

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
William Harries Graham
Jakes (Record Review)

Doug Freeman, April 12, 2019

Texas Platters
Rebecca Loebe
Give Up Your Ghosts (Record Review)

Christina Garcia, April 12, 2019

More by Greg Beets
Our Music Critics Pick Their Top 10 Austin Albums of 2018
Our Music Critics Pick Their Top 10 Austin Albums of 2018
80 local picks from Molly Burch to Brownout

Dec. 28, 2018

Our Music Critics Pick Their Top 10 Austin Albums of 2018
Our Music Critics Pick Their Top 10 Austin Albums of 2018
80 local picks from Molly Burch to Brownout

Dec. 28, 2018

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle