By Carolina de Busto
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Steve Brennan
By Joseph Hess
By Allsion Babka
By Kelsey McClure
By RFT Music
By Christian Schaeffer
Call it a hunch, but the four fellows in Tilts seem to be products of the '80s. The name of the quartet's debut, Cassingle, refers to an antiquated musical format — remember those cardboard-sleeved cassette updates of the 45 RPM record? — and the band's logo uses the same font as the one used to advertise the boner-comedy Porky's. Besides that, John Cusack's diabolical, Van Halen-loving Frankenburger from Better Off Dead is used as cover art.
What does all this Reagan-era detritus mean for the music? Surprisingly little. Fronted by ex-Riddle of Steel frontman Andrew Elstner and bolstered by a few ex-members of Shame Club, the band plays ballsy riff-rock that sounded as good now as when T. Rex did it. But instead of melting your face with high-necked guitar fireworks (a hallmark of the band's past groups), Tilts would rather rock your ass with a thrusting groove.
That's not to say that the six strings have been locked away. Guitarists Elstner and Andy White square off for Thin Lizzy-like harmonics on the chugalug workout "Give Me Some of Your Loving," a song that gives the best impression of the band's style. And Elstner still has one of the best cuts-through-the-mix voices in town (especially on opening track "Super Ultra Mega"), full of enough swagger and smirking good cheer to make him a great frontman. This isn't exactly news to the legions of Riddle of Steel fans, but it's a welcome return to hear him lead this twin-guitar attack.
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