Join Riverfront Times Press Club. Because No News is Bad News.

Homespun 

Maxtone 4 - Hey Hey Do It Anyway (Maximum Tone Fidelity Records)

Led by singer and guitarist Brian McClelland, the Maxtone 4 has been threatening to become the city's best power-pop band for the past few years. With its second album, Hey Hey Do It Anyway, the quartet is finally making good on its promise. The band plays straight-ahead, two-guitar rock with a penchant for handclaps, whip-smart hooks and layered harmonies. The musicianship is pitch-perfect throughout the record, and it leaves room for McClelland's breathy voice, which is sometimes endearingly fey — but ballsy enough to navigate the sharp corners and quick rhymes of these songs.

For Hey Hey, the band enlisted the help of Joe Thebeau (of Finn's Motel) on production and songwriting, including on the disc's first track, "Just Say I Know." The song attacks the recycled sound of this city's rock bands, singing (sweetly) that "it's been done before and it's been done better." This is a bold statement from an act that owes no small debt to groups ranging from Cheap Trick to the Knack to Zumpano, but it hints at the vitriol that rests beneath the band's saccharine veneer. To wit: "I Fucking Hate This Place" sounds like "Take This Job and Shove It" as recorded by Squeeze. Like any good power-pop record, there are several songs about girls, like "Melody Girl" (about a lady who is "aggressive and mean" but "super-duper clean") and "Kickstand," a synth-inflected ode to an independent woman. Maxtone 4 adds a bit of dirt and grit to the bubble-gum formula, proving that sunshine-pop can address more than puppy love.

Riverfront Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of St. Louis and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep St. Louis' true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

July 29, 2020

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2020 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation