Huffamoose

Huffamoose

I Wanna Be Your Pants

Shanachie

Huffamoose has two distinctive singer-songwriters. If this Philadelphia band is ever going to produce a big hit, rhythm guitarist Craig Elkins will probably be the one to write it. His songs tend to sound like they belong on modern rock radio stations. But they may be a bit too quirky in some cases for that increasingly restrictive format. He sings stream-of-consciousness lyrics in the voice of a world-weary, sarcastic slacker smart-ass somewhere between say J. Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. and John McCrea of Cake. The opening “My Dad’s New Hit Song” sounds like Huffamoose’s bid at a bite the hand that feeds novelty hit. Elkins sings: “I guess we’re kinda like garbage if that’s the connection the kids need to make, whatever it takes, to get the DJ to play our new hit song.” And “Zero Hours” is again all about the heavily ironic attitude. But Elkins’ best effort here is a simple but pretty ballad called “Beautiful Town.” It’s got a nice melody, the record’s best production, and toned down weirdness.

Yep, Elkins will probably be the one who lucks into writing the hits for Huffamoose. But that’s kind of a shame, since most of the really interesting songs on I Wanna Be Your Pants are written and sung by guitarist Kevin Hanson. His first offering “Isn’t It Remarkable” is the first track on the record that sounds like a real song rather than an exercise in connect-the-dots modern rock songwriting. “Half Empty” is an attitude-free folky acoustic ballad. “Johnny Depp Day” is as weird as the title. And “Semper Fi” is nice, slightly woozy stoner folk.

I Wanna Be Your Pants is the band’s third record, and follows a major label effort that failed to break the band. If Huffamoose wants to be more than the latest flash in the pan on modern rock radio, they’d be wise to let Kevin Hanson’s songs play a bigger role in their future.

Shanachie Records, 13 Laight St., New York, NY 10013; http://www.shanachie.com

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