About a decade ago Mario Hernandez (of Ciao Bella & From Bubblegum To Sky) was casually sitting on a Stockholm couch drinking a really good cup of coffee when a friend put on the “Back To Mono” box set and Hernandez’s life was forever changed. He was instantly drawn in by the excellent songwriting and lush instrumental arrangements; and what started out as an innocent side trip into the Phil Spector back catalog soon became a longtime fascination with the Brill Building and Spector’s fabled wall of sound.
As time passed he realized that he just couldn’t get away from it. He kept coming back to the idea of a simple pop song that wasn’t really that simple – a happy melody with a dark underpinning in the lyric– and he knew that it wasn’t enough to just listen. He had to make his own version of this great sounding stuff. Kids On a Crime Spree is the result of this obsession.
After living in New York for a spell to more fully immerse himself in the culture that spawned the music he loved, Hernandez moved back to California and began recording in earnest. Of the more than one hundred songs he composed but was not able to record while in New York, eight of the best were chosen for We Love You So Bad, Kids On a Crime Spree’s first record. Much care was taken to use older recording techniques akin to those used in the sixties in the Brill Building and the whole record was recorded on analog tape.
As recording progressed Hernandez brought in friends to help record and to recreate his songs in a live setting. Things came together quickly since they had all played together in the past and before long they had mastered they songs and were ready to play out. Key to the Kids On A Crime Spree sound is the simple yet driving drumming of Becky Barron (of #Poundsign#, Scrabbel & From Bubblegum To Sky), and the perpetually drenched in reverb guitar of Bill Evans (of From Bubblegum To Sky). From the punchy power-pop of “I Don’t Wanna Call You Baby, Baby” to the classic 70s handclap-driven glam-pop of “Sweet Tooth” and the Ramones-y “To Mess With Dynamite,” We Love You So Bad shows Hernandez and Kids On a Crime Spree’s mastery of pop history and distinctive song-writing chops. “Jean-Paul Sartre 2” wraps the EP up in fine fashion, a feedback-drenched gem with a riff that most bands would just kill for. It’s a perfect way to end this great debut release and points the way forward to what we hope is a lot more great pop from Mario, Becky and Bill.
Tracklist: I Don’t Wanna Call You Baby, Baby / Trumpets Of Death / Dead Ripe / It’s In My Blood / Sweet Tooth / To Mess With Dynamite / Impasto / Jean-Paul Sartre 2
Slumberland Records SLR143