Sean Na Na
Some of the best bands in the new breed of indie guitar rock seem content in borrowing from lesser-known ‘70s groups (from Television, Big Star and Thin Lizzy to T. Rex and glam rock)—as if returning to the scene of the crime before rock was butchered by the commercial onslaught of the ‘80s.
Minneapolis’ Sean Tillman (Har Mar Superstar, ex-Calvin Crime) has a good group going that can rock in a number of different styles—as proven on this finely engineered album that echoes straight from the early ‘70s, with nods to New Wave heroes like Elvis Costello and Gang of Four. Tillman sings cryptic, self-obsessed lyrics about personal acceptance and seedy parties ("What happened to those ‘90s ravers who gave free samples of their party favors to all of us ragers. … They got hepatitis from sharing tooters").
But catchy guitar hooks and pop melodies buoy the album, with Tillman fronting a tight band equally at home emulating The Who’s Tommy-sound ("Grew Into My Body") or what sounds like male-fronted early Blondie ("Double Date"). The album ends with a sweet and funny solo piano ballad, "I Need a Girl," with Tillman singing à la Dennis DeYoung (Styx) about his ideal "sugar mommy," his "new wave girl to dance with me and curl up on the couch while I pull DJ duty." Though not complete, this album has a few tracks of alterna-rock bliss and may foreshadow more majestic work to come.