The Deal: Jamie Hoover and Steve Stoeckel of The Spongetones release their debut album, English Afterthoughts, as a duo on Loaded Goat Records in December of 2009.
The Good: The Spongetones have always had a knack for writing Brit-pop tunes in the vein of the 1960s and Jamie & Steve's debut is no different. The album continues down the same path, satiating any desires fans might have for a new Spongetones disc. Strong harmonies are all over this uncomplicated album. The 12 tracks kick off with the catchy "Emily's Ghost." Oddly enough, I found the odd-numbered tracks to be more enjoyable than the even-numbered for more than the first half of the album – the upbeat groove of "Let's Don't Count This One" and the rolling beat of "In the Other Life and On Another Day."
The Bad: If you don't like The Spongetones, you're not gonna like this either. The guys are great at what they do, but it's gonna be really hard to avoid any Beatles and Brit-pop comparisons – at times, I even think I'm hearing some hints of British accent. Where is that coming from?
The Verdict: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Jamie & Steve are doing what they do best. Where does Hoover get the time? With all of his studio efforts, it's great to see that he has the time to make new music on a regular basis. They aren't trying to modernize an old sound – they're sticking to what has worked for them for 30 years. They'll be performing at Prevue on Jan. 29.