The Bellrays

Hard, Sweet And Sticky

[2/5]
That the BellRays’ 2004 album The Red, White And Black was released on Alternative Tentacles and included a song (“Revolution Get Down”) featured in a Nissan Xterra commercial sums up these SoCal rock ’n’ soul fixtures almost perfectly. On their eighth full-length, the band mostly pump out the kind of adult-oriented rock confections that should be sandwiched between a Liz Phair song and an over-compressed ad for a Macy Gray concert (unsurprisingly, BellRays bassist/producer Billy Mohler has worked with both) on a typically bland FM radio station. Elsewhere, vocalist Lisa Kekaula racks up an ever-increasing collection of Tina Turner and Aretha Franklin comparisons, especially on “Psychotic Hate Man,” when the band drag the Turners-covering-Creedence template kicking and screaming out of the ’70s. Meanwhile, “The Fire Next Time” has a vague Dusty Springfield vibe, “Wedding Bells” sounds almost like Portishead, and the whole experiences makes this writer feel like he’s aged about 10 years and started living in a TGI Friday’s. (ANODYNE) J. Bennett