Zooming by in a blur of imperceptible lyrics and jangly guitar hooks, Hippies is the kind of inconsequential romp that feels like a much shorter album than it actually is, though this expediency suggests a trifling weightlessness more than concentrated pop bliss. Yet the album, nearly instantly forgettable and without doing much of note, works despite this frothiness. Simply put, Harlem manages to pull off a lot of annoying things at once, from the setup irreverence of strangely unsavory ironic titles (“Gay Human Bones,” “Cloud Pleaser”) to the visible chunks of other bands’ sounds floating in the broth. “Stripper Sunset” is pure fuzzy treacle, inconsequential blues rock riffs tossed helter skelter over caterwauling vocals like worn shirts over the backs of chairs. This sense of carelessness abounds, but its laissez-faire style of presentation, which plays like songs dashed off instantly and energetically, grants a liberating, messy-bedroom feel. The result is songs that both blend together and break apart within themselves, avoiding a strict stylistic palette while sticking to rudimentary notions of speed and noise and energy. In some ways Hippies recalls the bare, unassuming simplicity of three-chord punk by groups like the Ramones, and while it never attains that level of near-mindless glee, its haphazard mashing of styles creates an infectious if transient blend of songs.
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