Let Them Drinkis the record’s name, but are the Capitol Years talking about us or themselves? Probably both. It’s the Philly combo’s official studio debut as a band — previous outings were mostly just ringleader Shai Halperin — so Drink is a bursting and eager statement of uncut rock ’n’ roll joy. The stomping “Mounds of Money” has a riff from the past, but it’s glued to stinging guitar leads and Halperin’s husky, slightly distorted vocals. “Everyone Is a Skunk” (the Who) and “Solid Gold” (the Beatles) are similar miners of source material, but they always make a cool stylistic turn, like when Halperin’s voice cracks over the latter’s shimmering organ break. “It makes me feel so fuckin’ SAD!” Capitol Years reference 2001’s Meet Yr Acres with the brief, acoustic “Going Down, it’s Alright,” “Nothing to Say” nods along on a faraway and stoned-out bass guitar thrum, and you can warm your cold hands on the vocal harmonies of “Juicers” and “Giant Drunks,” two midtempo gems. Capitol Years certainly tip caps to their influences, but unique hooks and smart songwriting always sell their present day. Now and then meet in a coil of Let Them Drink’s patch chords.
Johnny Loftus writes about music for Metro Times. E-mail [email protected].