Dean Fertita you may know better as the guitarist/keyboardist of The Dead Weather, or as the guitarist/keyboardist of Queens of the Stone Age. Perhaps, if you’ve got a really keen eye, you may recognize him as an extra body onstage with The Raconteurs the last time they toured. Of course, if you’re a fan of any, or all three, of those groups you were most likely paying more attention to the charismatic front man genius of Josh Homme, or the duel-for-the-front sexual tension of Jack White and Alison Mosshart (or Jack White and Brendan Benson). You may have missed the guitar wielding prowess of one Dean Fertita, and that would be a shame.
You can make up for your oversight now, while Fertita is in between collaborative projects and fronting his own band, Hello=Fire. This time around, it’s Brendan Benson (The Raconteurs), and the rest of Queens of the Stone Age that aren’t Josh Homme who are the secondary players.
So what’s the sound? Sort of what you’d expect based on Fertita’s work history: bluesy garage rock with a healthy helping of psychedelic sixties flavored pop melody. The kind of music you can shake your ass to, drink a beer to, or flirt with an anonymous stranger in a dark club to. It’s nothing new, but it’s comfortable and undeniably groovy.
Opening up with “Certain Circles,” the download-ready single complete with a sexy guitar riff and handclaps ( which, let’s face it, make any song even more awesome!), this self-titled debut begins with a burn that simmers, boiling hot here and there. “She Gets Remote” rocks like the poppier side of Beck, with a cowbell; “Mirror Each Other” highlights Fertita’s abilities to massage some madness out of the guitar; and “Parallel” eases us out of the garage at sunrise with a sweetly psychedelic love song that somehow recalls both Weezer and David Bowie.
While it’s as yet unclear whether or not Hello=Fire is a mere break between other things for Fertita, Benson, and the QOTSA boys, it’s a fun ride worth taking while it’s being offered.