The 88 have always had something about them. Maybe it’s that perfect balance of piano rock and pop acoustic (I know that’s probably not what you expected to read, but go with me on this one.) that can make them equally as attractive on a Target commercial as coming out of a speaker in a tiny club. But even with all the movie and commercial play they’re getting as of late, their latest album (their sixth, if you’re counting) still stays true to their original aesthetic.

“They Ought to See You Now” is an upbeat song reminiscent of Over and Over’s “All ’cause of You” but with more wailing guitars and a harder edge. And speaking of guitars, “Automatic Brain” has more than its fair share of kickin’ guitar solos only matched by Keith Slettedahl’s vocal gymnastics. And for more of a nitty-gritty feel, “Diamond In the Coal” is a soulful piano-pop ballad that Maroon 5 only wishes they could pull off.

But these guys aren’t just great on CD; their upbeat personalities come through when they’re onstage. Don’t believe me? Head to the Troubadour on Oct. 12 and check ’em out for yourself!

Grade: A



The 88 is currently available.