Finally, a band from Orange County that isn’t a bunch of trite emo saps with black nail polish. On their self-titled debut, Hong Kong Six delivers a smorgasbord of kinetic pop styles, more rich and full-bodied than a pint of Guinness. The vocal chemistry between Darren Geare and Alisa Santoro is similar to the precision showed by Frank Black and Kim Deal in the Pixies, and the skills of violist Tracy Salzer makes Hong Kong Six seem like an Arcade Fire for slackers with short attention spans.
Hong Kong Six is a delightful treat that contains plucky anthems like “Swim With the Sharks” as well as vehement power pop nuggets like the harmony laden “Lets Suffocate.” This sextet even manages to bridge over into some psych-jazz rhythms on “Read My Mind” as the tow-tone readiness in “Rainy Day” will get you dancing or tapping your feet at the very least. However, the youthful ingenuity of “Cliff Dr.”, and the jittery pop swagger in “Play My Game” make these two crafty, freewheeling tracks the true gems of the album.
Hong Kong Six also demonstrate a canny knack of bewildering tricks that they have up their sleeves with ballads like “Stop (Looking at Me)” that merge feelings of glee and anguish with a giant baroque cherry on top. It should be noted however, that they are also a band that may seem to go over well for fans of the Talking Heads and Modest Mouse as a handful of the tracks such as “Music Is Too Loud” can have a feeling-good-all-around emanation with just the slightest twist of angst to it.
This is an album that clearly makes the point of why the majority of the best music out there comes from artists like the Hong Kong Six. They are a band that demonstrates a soaring potentiality for becoming a shining star in the never-ending string of indie bands. Hong Kong Six is an album that is short, sweet and to the point, which is the way that pop music is meant to be.