Harlem Shakes, Technicolor Health (Gigantic Music, 2009)

As you might guess from their name, the members of Harlem Shakes are New Yorkers, although the quintet of Lexy Beinam (vocals), Todd Goldstein (guitar, vocals), Jose Soegaard (bass, vocals), Kendrick Strauss (keyboards, vocals), and Brent Katz (drums, vocals) were actually based in Brooklyn rather than Harlem. Their music combines indie rock with some rudimentary electronics. Technicolor Health came out this past spring, but since they've recently announced a split, their second album appears to be their last.

Technicolor Health has its moments. Beinam's pleasantly unassuming voice reminds me a lot of Nick Lowe, and suits the songs well. "Niagra Falls" has a nice piano part and a good bounce to it, and the really good single "Sunlight" boasts an infectious chorus. But most of the album lacks a real spark. Plus, the electronics often sound cheesy and do more harm than good.

So on the whole, you'll find a couple of songs worth a few listens or a download, but not enough quality to sustain a full album. Harlem Shakes might have been capable of eventually making an album that's strong all the way through. Technicolor Health is not that album, though, and it doesn't seem likely that they'll give themselves another chance.

Overall grade: C+

reviewed by Scott

Harlem Shakes play "Sunlight" in front of their home crowd in Brooklyn.

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