The Hellenbacks are defined by gritty guitars, huge sing-along choruses, and rock-and-roll swagger. Based in Las Vegas, their latest percolates with good ol’ American ’70s rock with a contemporary twist. Bassist Sean Koos, drummer Al Serrato, guitar wiz Doc Ellis, and singer/guitarist/producer/songwriter Jimmie Romero, throw down seductive grooves, airtight harmonies, and filthy guitar.
Strong tunes coupled with top-tier musicianship make this album sparkle with crowd-pleasing anthems and opulent ballads. “It’s Alright,” with its retro good-time atmospherics, harken to a time when music made you forget your cares. The album also offers the heavy rockin’ “Nothing’s Pretty,” “Sugar,” and “Super Star” with Romero’s stratospheric tenor careening superbly throughout.
The Hellenbacks add a feminine touch thanks to the incandescent Cian Coey vocalizing on “Sock It To Me,” “California Bound,” “Right Now,” and “Diggin’ The Likes Of You.” This last song displays the band’s deft acoustic chops and ability to harmonize effortlessly.
The skillful guitar machinations of Ellis and Romero provide a powerful blend of rootsy virtuosity and feel throughout. The Hellenbacks’ music is familiar without being derivative, and will find longtime residence on your playlist.
This article originally appeared in VG November 2017 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.