Hollis Brown: 3 Shots

Grand NYC band let it bleed.

Why you can trust Louder Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Given that they crawled out of Queens and their last release was a verbatim account of the Velvet Underground’s Loaded, one might expect Hollis Brown to be rooted in a vintage epoch.

But the breadth of urban references they bring to bear on the street corner addict’s Sweet Tooth, a direct descendant of Waiting For The Man, and the stark soldier’s letter home from Iraq, Wait For Me Virginia, are as stoutly modern as they are bewilderingly brilliant. Flashes of Love’s Four Sail sound are stamped over the enigmatic John Wayne, chased down by Spaghetti Western motifs and a whistling coda. There’s not enough whistling on albums.

A resurrected Bo Diddley rhythm guitar track drives on Rain Dance, one of several songs on 3 Shots that make them sound like good ol’ boys. Here they channel KC and Dennis Linde, while the Hispanic Mi Amor rocks up like Marty Robbins.

Everything is peachy once bandleaders Mike Montila and Jonathan Bonilla head out to the country with guest Nikki Lane on Highway 1. Then back to the streets for Death Of An Actress (Vivien Leigh?), a riposte to the Velvets’ New Age. They don’t stand in anyone’s shadow though. Sharp shooting.

Classic Rock 214: New albums A-L

Max Bell

Max Bell worked for the NME during the golden 70s era before running up and down London’s Fleet Street for The Times and all the other hot-metal dailies. A long stint at the Standard and mags like The Face and GQ kept him honest. Later, Record Collector and Classic Rock called.