The Halo Friendlies 
Artist: The Halo Friendlies 
Label: Jackson-Rubio Recordings 

The young Jackson-Rubio label is really earning my respect, consistently putting out unique, creative, talented bands mostly outside of mainstream trends--Havalina Rail Co., Thee Spivies, the Merbabies... and now the Halo Friendlies.  The four groovy girls who make up the band (Havalina frontman and Jackson-Rubio head honcho Matt Wignall's wife being one of them) have taken the beats and attitudes of 80s New Wave and the indie rock/punk sounds of today, added a dash of surf rock, and have thrown it all in a blender.  Mmmm mmm's the best-tasting "alternative" album I've had in awhile, for sure. The girls share vocals at times and go solo at others, shouting and squealing with plenty of spunk and sass when they rock, and singing smooth and sultry when they lay back and relax. 

And what do they sing about?  Boys, boys, and more boys...boys to be lovesick over, boys met at punk shows (like "Jackie Chan"!), boys who hurt them, boys who are just a "flake-o on my scalp-o!"  Lest you think these chicas are without substance, though, there's "Cry of Job": 

    Surely I speak of those things I do not understand 
    Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ash 

    Where is my hope and comfort? 
    Do I have strength of stone? 
    I long to see your face 
    Take me out of this place

On the downside, the production on a few songs (like "Love Sick") is just too shrill...take out some of that treble!  The echo-effect added to many of the guitar tones and vocals is a nice touch, though.  The "dance remix" last track is blah; I'll be scratching that part of the CD so it can't be played again (just kidding, but it's definitely an unwelcome addition that doesn't fit).  And I'd also like even more catchy choruses...but enough complaining.  I dig the Halo Friendlies, so listen up cool kids! This is a debut truly worthy of your attention, your adoration, and your almighty dollar. 

By Josh Spencer