This is a psychedelic pop record in the most attractive sense. Not the soft California weirdness of Brian Wilson, though that's what the name suggests this is heavier, noisier; "dangerous" in an immediately palpable way. A Velvet Underground comparison is hard to avoid, and in this case that's good; Heroes & Villains have taken the best elements of VU's Loaded and White Light/White Heat and set them side by side. Straightforward songs with noisy edges cut with longer, menacingly spaced-out explorations particularly on the two live songs included.
An immediate standout is "Song A," one of the best pop songs to come out of Detroit in a while; the singer-guitarist intones a younger, pre-junkie Lou Reed, assuring the listener that it's "allllll-riiiiiiight" in that distanced-yet-joyous Midwestern drawl before launching into a frenetic, sublimely all-over-the-place guitar solo.
The more one listens, the better it gets; subtler aspects of songs rise, and you realize that no matter how noisy the presentation is, Heroes and Villains are writing real songs.
Mike Ross writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].