Bluebird Hot Blood

The names attached to Hot Blood might suggest that this is a pummeller of a record: a guest appearance by the MC5's surviving guitar panther Wayne Kramer, and Joe Barresi, whose skills at the board have captured the mighty sounds of the Melvins, Queens Of the Stone Age and the Jesus Lizard. Instead, what we find on Blue Bird’s sophomore release are slick, lush and melodic alt-rock tunes. Their songs are inflected with a rock vibe, but the production is too precious to fully rock out. Bluebird also exhibits a glossy presentation that has subverted many British "rockers.” At the same time, their L.A. roots are audible in the moments when Sam Velde’s fiery wails echo that of L.A. alt-rock icon Perry Farrell. Although the band is being marketed as "riff rock,” they're less about riffs and more about hooks and atmospherics. But it must be said that they do indulge in high-energy rave-ups and that there is some "argh!” in their groove. They’ve also definitely got chops, and they do what they do well. They’re slick, tight and radio-friendly, and as long as they don’t fall victim to misguided marketing, this could be their breakout record. (Dim Mak)