The Getback's Halfway Home Is a Kickass Power-Pop Punk Rock Blast
Anthony Hamilton With Lalah Hathaway & Eric Benet
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I must preface this by stating parts of my personal involvement with this band and its members.
Almost a decade ago -- or was it more? -- I was asked by these guys to book a show for them. They were friends and in certain regards ex-bandmates, so I agreed. I quickly scrambled to get a night at the now-defunct Gables Pub and I worked out a sweet deal involving a cut of bar sales for the band, no cover charge at the door, and my own security.
My pals Tim Rohde (Lose the Rookie) and Eldys Diaz (Electric Bunnies) provided the PA for that show. And I can honestly say that at the time and now, many years down the line, it proved to be one of the funnest experiences I've ever had involving South Florida music.
The event went off without a hitch and it was immortalized on the inside cover of the Getback's second effort, 2003's Right About Now, with a photograph of me holding back a packed pub, mobbing the band at the height of the gig. It was a sweaty evening that defied the Fire Marshall's code and everybody had a good time.
But the passage of time tends to do a number on bands. College, careers, and relocations made it unlikely that this outfit would last. A damn shame. Its take on power-pop punk rock with blues nuances is solid stuff. There's something gruff and desperate about the music, something gained honestly through shared experience and camaraderie.
When I heard the Getback was recording a new album, I was a little apprehensive at first. But they pulled it off and it's fucking fantastic! There's good reason why our friends over at Livid Records put it out. And there's a good reason why Panic Bomber lost some of his crowd during Sweatstock ... The Getback was performing!
Opener "Secrets" quickly affirms what we knew all along about this band: great rhythm and good guitars with solid songwriting atop catchy rock 'n' roll. Jose Flores leads on vocals, guitar, and even organ while Gus Rod Gonzalez throws in some harmonica and brings blues-via-Buenos-Aires lead guitar. Meanwhile, Danny Palacios provides backup with solid bass and Juan Manuel Rótulo delivers powerhouse drumming.
The title track is a perfect punk rock tune with some quivering folk, keeping it lively and reminiscent of a late night with friends. "Gimme Routine" is a slow jam with some good guitars and keys, setting up the polite onslaught of "Tell Me Something Nice." And "Standing By" sounds as though it could've come off a Lookout! Records sampler disc from the mid '90s. "Imitating Art" is a baroque and heartfelt ditty, perhaps the most familiarly personal one here.
"Wrong turn" and "Two Years" are reworked older tracks that sound even better now. (And I mean that after careful consideration since I'm a big fan of the originals.) Hats off to Danny's vocals here, he's brought a different inflection and elocution to them that's prompting some serious reevaluation of the originals.
"Mean to be Mean" is a devious flight of fancy, casting the Getback guys as something they are not ... mean guys. "Nothing Left to Say" is a solid rocker with excellent driving guitars and closer "Fun (No Fun)" brings the disc to a succinct end.
But wait! There's a hidden track at the end: an acoustic rendition of "Cheap Liquor."
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