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The Hanks - Your New Attraction
By Chris Stum

The windows in my car are down; Iíve got the stereo cranked. The sound coming from my CD player is energetic and bright but still quite punk. I head out onto the interstate and hit about 85 MPH......wait, back to reality. I actually live in Pennsylvania, own a Mazda Protege (non convertible) and there is snow on the ground. I can only wish for warmer weather and, well...more money for that convertible.

What is a reality though is the band that I was listening to during my brief escape from life. In very real life the band is called The Hanks. If you would have told me about the music from The Hanks a few weeks ago, I would have said "Youíre dreaming, I havenít heard a good band crossover into (as I like to say) "good time punk rock" in quite sometime." Truth be told, many bands today always have some sort of sad, depressing element in their music, but this band from Los Angeles combines driving rhythms, killer guitars and great vocals to produce a sound which is certainly music to my ears. If you havenít heard of them yet, donít worry, Iím here to educate you. 

The debut album from The Hanks entitled "Your New Attraction" will be available March 8th on Caffeine Teen Records. Energy, energy, energy, and more energy is one of the phrases that come to mind when describing The Hanks music. The album begins with an upbeat punk rocker entitled "The Only Thing Real". A perfect opener for this album, "The Only Thing Real" rolls The Hanks right out of the gate, all pistons firing. The vocals of Josh Grondin (Lead Vocals/Guitar) grab your attention like an unclaimed Ben Franklin at your feet with lines like "You never wanted to be just another failure." and "Never doubt what you feel, cause thatís the only thing that is real."  The album continues on with a few mid-tempo numbers named "Sometimes" and "Bruised", both songs showcasing sonic musical soundscapes and quickly shifting gears.  A song that really caught my ear was one called "Once Again." Although the feel of "Once Again" may be a little darker than itís predecessors, it still continues to define the band and help create a strong start to the album. 

The vibe that The Hanks provide could be considered as raw pop punk, high on caffeine but all the while providing great songs that never get off track.

The vocals of Josh Grondin are sometimes emo, sometimes just straight rock, but most of all, Grondin captures the emotional energy in each song and portrays it perfectly. Along with lead vocal duties, Grondin provides great guitar work that lies in each song. The song entitled "Evaporate" is a great example of the sounds that The Hanks are capable of. "Evaporate" may be one of the slower and songs on the album, but the post chorus offers up delayed guitar lines and soft muted riffs during the songs verse. "Evaporate" has the texture of maybe the Psychedelic Furs or U2 but has enough modern edge to make the song a standout of the album. The song "Bruised" is along these same lines, great textures and sounds in true Radiohead style, but the chorus is "chunked" up with drummer Shane Mayo and bassist Bryan Harris adding a heavier, rhythmic backbone. 

Along with "Evaporate" the band does slow things down a little more, but still manages to maintain a fresh outlook with every song. The song "I Know" could be considered one of the few ballads on the album, but it also showcases the acoustic side of the band in fine fashion. I canít forget about the horns in "Mixtape" and "The Only Thing Real" provided by Philip Katz. Just another element in the music of The Hanks that truly sets them apart from the rest. 

Songs such as "Throwaway" and "Turn Around" wrap up the sound of The Hanks with more catchy lyrics, and guitar riffs giving every listener a reason to come back for more. It is tough to have a favorite song on an album which is filled up with great songwriting elements and just good time punk music. The songs that The Hanks have produced will stay with you for a long time and provide soundtracks to many moments in your life. 

The Hanks are just around the corner; this is one attraction on its way up. 

CD Info 

The Hanks - Your New Attraction
Label: Caffeine Teen Records
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