Into The Night - Jeremy & The Harlequins (Yep Roc)
Americana Rock and Roll is the new black. No, make that orange. Or whatever colour’s in vogue this week. Make no mistake though: If the trend stays still for five minutes, Jeremy & The Harlequins will be huge.
Jeremy & The Harlequins are from Brooklyn, which is the epicentre of what’s left of New York City’s rock and roll scene. Before that, Jeremy and brother-drummer Stephan came from Toledo, Ohio, where they assembled The Harlequins from remnants of other NYC bands. Their first album was mixed by Matt Verta Ray (Heavy Trash) so you know what sound they were shooting for.
Fast forward to Record Number Two and Jeremy & The Harlequins are on Yep Roc for “Into The Night”. Its influences are clear. It’s ’50s and early ‘60s rock and roll, the music of greasers before the British invaded. Doo wop meets flick-knife rock.
The Del-Lords mine similar ground. Back in the days of the CBGB scene, Robert Gordon was the master. And here’s the rub: Go to the band’s Facebook page and there’s a picture of Jeremy and Stephan posing with ace photographer Bob Gruen…under a facsimile of the CBGB marquee at the fake CB’s the brand’s corporate owners have leased to a restaurant at Newark Airport. What’s worse is that there doesn’t seem to be the slightest sniff of irony in the posting of this image. It’s even accompanied by a hashtag #eastvillagelives
Don’t think a faux pas like this overrides the music. I gave it a good hearing, “Into The Night” is stylised Americana rock and roll that feels like it was recorded for the masses. It’s safe, it offends no-one. It’s not awful. It’s just uninspiring.
You know where this record went wrong? It’s not its fault. I played the second most recent album by Pat Todd & The Rankoutsiders back-to-back with it. "14th And Nowhere..." Now, that’s Americana.