Griffons at the Gates of Heaven
The album cover of Sons of Hippies' Cleopatra Records' debut, Griffons at the Gates of Heaven, hardly prepares one for the genuinely poppy sounds that are the Florida group's strength. Katherine Kelly leads this trio with her fairly straightforward indie-pop songs. The tracks then get a psychedelic treatment in the production stages, where the tripped-out overdubs give bouncy tunes like "Magnets" or "Rose" an extra dimension. New bassist David Daly works well with drummer Jonas Canales, locking into the groove while giving the songs an extra melodic punch, so a tune like "Blood in the Water" has an unusual lead instrument. Legendary Sub Pop Records producer Jack Endino mixed the album, and he does an admirable job of finding the best elements in the mix and bringing them into focus. "Whatever We Spend" apparently has a keyboard in the background for texture, and the extra clusters of backing harmonies color in the sound where the guitars are comfortable rattling off the basic chords. There are no psychedelic epics here; just modern psych-pop songs.