Hieronymus Bosch

Hieronymus Bosch

Havin’ Fun, Soundin’ Good

Here’s the problem with Havin’ Fun, Soundin’ Good: it doesn’t sound very good. The album is an attempt at California surf-rock, but sounds a lot like a surf band from Brooklyn — which, funny enough, it is. You won’t find any Dick Dale or Ventures lurking around on here; Hieronymus Bosch hasn’t quite graduated from boogie boards. Instead of surf guitar licks, they fall back upon traditional rock chords and distortion. Not quite the stuff to catch waves on. Perhaps that wasn’t the point.

For the band’s sake, I hope the kitsch of this album was intentional. The vocals are a little reminiscent of 1980s rock theatrics, and the songs hop around in volume as if they were written alongside a choreographed stage show. But there’s nothing really worth latching on to here — no catchy hooks, no interesting lyrics, no great ideas. For the most part, it’s all just garage rock, and floats around like an abandoned surfboard.

To be fair, it’s doubtful Hieronymus Bosch was aiming for greatness. They’re just some guys trying to have a good time, and I’m sure they put together some fun local shows. In the liner notes, they even explain the drummer’s involvement in the band by saying he “has been banned from all gentlemen’s establishments in the bustling metropolis and simply has nothing better to do.” So, let them have their fun, even if they don’t sound so good. Surf’s up.

Hieronymus Bosch: www.hbosch.net/

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