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Filtering their sunny birthplace roots through the hard rocking urbanity of their current hometown, California-to-Detroit immigrants Hayley and the Crusher kick the appropriate jams out on fourth LP Modern Adult Kicks. Fronted by triple threat singer/guitarist/songwriter Hayley Cain, the trio bashes out butt rockin’ power pop with style, hooks, and, from the look of the cover, a very, um colorful sense of style. Hints of Dick Dale sidle up to nods to T. Rex and find themselves making out to the MC5’s Back in the USA, and everybody gets satisfied. Cain centers the tracks around her muscular rhythm guitar playing and sassafras singing, while hubby Dr. Cain, Esq. and Action Ben Cabrena keep the beat hyperactive. Sonically the Crushers have got it goin’ on, but the not-so-secret weapon is the songs themselves. These aren’t slight genre exercises pooped out in order to have something to play onstage – these are flesh-and-blood songs, with hearts on sleeves as often as tongues in cheeks. Whether Cain surrounds the winsome melancholy of “She Drives” and “Lost Cause” with brassy hooks or indulges in saucy wit with “Taboo” and “Click and Act Now!,” her tunes drive the band, not the other way around. Like the Go-Go’s if they’d never met Richard Gotterher, Hayley and the Crushers rock hard while scanning instantly, hopelessly, helplessly lovable.
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