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Blame it on Rio

The second album from Philadelphia's Hail Social is not vaguely, but rather clearly, happily, lucidly, wallopingly '80s. When singer-guitarist-keyboardist Dayve Hawk and his cohorts debuted in 2005, commentators guessed that Hawk's undistressed voice and songwriting could be filed coolly enough under that notoriously difficult easy pop band, Duran Duran. Indeed, a Howard Jones sort of aquamarine U.K.-Japanese air does surround Hawk's melodies—he is working more closely, though, with tuneful disco pioneers like Chic, and such fizzier Chic counterparts as Italy's Change and Montreal's Lime. Hawk sings about being a "modern man" and, on "Try Again," sprays melodies with a distinctly 2007 Philly edge-of-theater lilt. Throughout, Hawk's tenor and the band's unforced sonics dazzle—Hail Social's best tune, the bass-heavy "Footsteps," highlights their yen to have lead vocals and instrumental countermelodies dance. This may not be the epic restatement of Reagan-era technology, money, sex, and leg warmers that the '80s revival has yet to produce. It's in there, though.

Hail Social play Pianos May 17, pianosnyc.com.


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