Recording information: Hollywood, CA (04/2012); Seattle, WA (04/2012).
On her debut album for Hardly Art, Sock It to Me, the Oakland-based one-woman band Colleen Green comes off like a darker, more complex version of Best Coast. Like that band's Bethany Cosentino, Green loves weed, worships the Ramones, and writes simple, guitar-heavy songs about boyfriends and how to find/keep them, but there's more depth to Green's songs and a much weirder, harder-to-pin-down aspect to them that makes her work more satisfying. While the record is mostly filled with uptempo, happy rockers like "When He Tells Me," "Yr So Cool," and "Number One" (a bopping cover of a track by fellow Ramones lovers the Queers) that have power chords, thumping drum machine patterns, and hooks sharp enough to pop eardrums, there are also tracks like "Close to You" and the super-catchy "Time in the World" that dial back the guitars in favor of prominent basslines and humming synths, and have a well-constructed and moody atmosphere that shows how Green has a mastery over the limited array of tools she chooses to use. So limited, in fact, that the drum machine and synths sound like they still have the original settings, but thanks to how catchy the songs are (and the earnest passion in the words and her voice), it works very well. The only song that falls a little short is the overlong, under-written title track, but it's a passing discomfort that is fixed by the machine-driven doo wop ballad ("Darkest Eyes") that follows. Green may not be a sonic wizard, and her songs may cover familiar topics in a familiar way, but she fills the album with songs you'll be humming to yourself all day long, adding to mixes, and sharing with friends who are into weird pop-punk, and that's what's most important in the end. ~ Tim Sendra
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