Reviews of the hi-frequencies
"The H-Fs do their stuff with originality and they've surely got the
skills and good taste. Their music is a fine blend of garage-pop songs
and sweet instrumentals, (9 out of 15, yes!! You get an A+ for that!)
all of them very merry and cheerful, a bit like the Shadows or the Ventures
(whose Yellow Jacket closes the record as a bonus track). . .. They
set my mood on good weather mode. . .."
- Johnny Stornante, November 2003 (Issue #18)
The Big Takeover
"There's 'good retro,' where the sounds and styles of yore are embraced
and celebrated and used as fuel for current-day offerings, but never
fussed over or objectified. And there's 'bad retro,' where, via bogus
notions of authenticity and stylistic purity, calendar denying necrophiles
unwittingly show just how far Father Time has progressed from the obsessed
upon era. Thank goodness, then that this surf-music-loving Pittsburgh
quartet is firmly in the former. Although undeniably antediluvian and
backwards-looking, theirs is a joyous and unselfconscious sound. In
fact, I think they would sound great at my next pool party (if I had
a pool) spinning out boppy Buddy Holly-meets-Ventures charmers such
as 'Junior Varsity,' 'Corvette Hollow' and 'Clairton Beat.'"
- Terry Banks, June 2003 (Issue #52)
No Kind of Superstar
"Just when you think you've got the Hi-Frequencies sussed as yet another
Dick Dale-influenced instrumental combo, Bill McAdams starts singing
and I'm reminded of the Modern Lovers' lo-fi excursions from the late-70s,
the Velvet Underground in the rehearsal studio jamming on a two chord
rock 'n' roll song or perhaps the pre-Byrds Beefeaters. The resolutely
lo-fi Rickenbacker guitar sound and 1963 period, proto-Beatles songs,
with cute American-as-apple-pie titles like 'Junior Varsity,' are more
than enough to charm me into submission. If they can outgrow their obvious
influences - Bo Diddley, Buddy Holly, the Ventures, Booker T. and the
MGs (especially evident in drummer Bill Scully's cool drum rolls), early
Beach Boys and the aforementioned Dick Dale - the Hi-Frequencies could
well develop their live-in-the-studio, analogue sound into something
- Carl Superstar, Summer 2003 (Issue #4)
Cool and Strange Music
"Recorded in mono with no visible traces of overdubs. The hi-frequencies
approach is that of stripped down guitar-based tunes, perfectly crafted
with a keen flair for measured and unhurriedly paced tracks. At the
heart of the album lies its true strength as the vocal power pop subsides,
giving way to a clutch of incredible instrumentals. The breezy twangy
surf of "El Dorado" and the following cut, "Shaky" turn everything up
a notch, both peppered with buoyant and sunny Tex-Mex guitar riffs straight
from the arsenal of Bobby Fuller . . .."
- Seth Wimpfheimer, February 2003 (Issue #28)
"If all the unsolicited records we received were this good, I'd never
leave the house. The hi-frequencies bounce through 14 well-mannered
garage tunes that conjure up thoughts of early Beach Boys, Ben Vaughn,
Junior Varsity, Buddy Holly (whom they cover) and even a dash of Alex
Chilton. They also earn points for naming a song after Bo Diddley's
drummer [Maracas player-Ed.], Jerome Green. (And of course they
use the Bo Diddley beat too.) Quite good."
- Mike Faloon, Winter 2003 (Issue #16)
Delusions of Adequacy
"Maybe it's the number of instrumentals on this album, but it's hard to talk about each individual song here. The tracks come off almost like one flowing composition that sort of bonds one song to the next. The Hi-Frequencies' full-length debut is more like a soundtrack to some hepcat's life that is meant to be experienced from start to finish. You won't find yourself skipping around or picking out a favorite song because this album is one unit. If you dig 60s pop-rock, the Hi-Frequencies will be a great modern find, but I'd highly recommend this album to anyone who, like myself, likes to have some fun and take a break from self-important or overly serious music."
- Jennifer Patton, Fall 2002
The Trouble With Normal
"I knew something was up when the cover of this proudly had the word
"mono" on it . . .. The Hi-Frequencies play power-pop and instrumental
rock rooted in the pre-Beatles 1960's US sound, and led by clear non-distorted
guitars and boy/girl lyrics (instrumentals notwithstanding of course).
This band switches from a school dance vibe circa 1962 to a surf movie/drag
race feel. Outside of former local alt-country artist Deke Dickerson's
old band, Untamed Youth, this is a retro path very less traveled compared
to rockabilly or garage rock. While part of me wants to dismiss the
simplicity of this, the instrumental tracks grabbed me and wouldn't
let go. Put this on and be taken sonically to an allegedly simpler time.
Not really too nostalgic but good."
- Boone Stigall, Fall 2002 (Issue #60)
The Chickenfish Speaks
"This was a very surprising CD. It was like stepping back in time about forty years or so to the days of Buddy Holly. In fact they cover one song of his "Peggy Sue Got Married". The other thirteen tunes are along the same lines of early rock with some infusions of surf ala Dick Dale. But to call them a throwback band would be a disservice, they add something to this style and while it feels like the old time sound it has a new spark to it."
- Grog, Fall 2002
All Music Guide
"More than a year in the making, the Hi-Frequencies' self-titled debut
is easily worth the wait: a perfect, immaculate-sounding distillation
of the group's sound, sensibility, and strength, not as a surf revival
act, but as a working pop band with somewhat of a stubborn surf fetish.
Yeah, it's a bit odd considering they're from the hills outside Pittsburgh,
but it works, and works well . . .. The album's best track, the beautiful
"Stranded," is deceptively simple and effortless, with Kate Daly's bass
working up a throbbing jungle beat, McAdams weaving an intoxicated reverb
frenzy, rhythm guitar player Jason Lizzi hitting his chords always at
exactly the right moment, and drummer Bill Scully alternating between
rolls and four-on-the-floor playing, the whole thing timeless, effortless,
and perfect. Bonus points for the meticulous All Summer Long
send-up cover art and the deliciously quirky liner notes. A fully realized
and convincing debut."
- Steve May, Fall 2002
"The Hi-Frequencies don't merely pay tribute to their influences . . . they take that inspiration and use it to perfect their own approach . . . their sound is disciplined, intricate and flawlessly clean."
- Cindy Yogmas, August 2002
"From the instrumentals - of which there are many - to the "Jonathan Richman singing Bobby Fuller and/or Buddy Holly songs" appeal of the cuts with vocals, the record could pass for an overlooked gem from the days when rock n' roll was more about the 'Fun, Fun, Fun.'"
- Ed Masley, August 2002
"Call it nuevo retro, but don't call it self-consciously naive. This is the real deal. This self-titled 14-track mono CD by the hi-frequencies (Teen Regime Records) features four twentysomethings with a love of early '60s surf music who write and play as if in a time warp. Their compositions are lovingly clever (they do only one cover, Buddy Holly's "Peggy Sue Got Married"), always interesting, and right on target. The sounds of the instruments, the mono production and Ventures-like arrangements are so authentic that it made me want to frug with Annette Funicello and Eric Von Zipper. This is great fun and great stuff."
- Phillip Harris, September 2002
Pittsburgh City Paper
"The groups' self-titled debut looks, feels and sounds shimmeringly
like it could have been cut in 1963 - not in a garage, but in Western
Studios with Brian Wilson at the controls."
- Steve May, August 2002
top of page