Out of Love
(Sub Pop Records)
It’s possible that Mister Heavenly is one of the best supergroups that you’ve never heard of. Nicholas Thorburn of The Unicorns and Islands, Honus Honus (Ryan Kattner) of Man Man, and Joe Plummer of Modest Mouse and The Shins come together to invent their own style of music, affectionately dubbed “doom wop” by the band members themselves.
It’s easy to see how the term applies. There’s a heavy focus on the rhythm and harmonizing that characterized so many songs in the 50’s, but there’s a certain darkness to the material as well. Things slide slightly out of key or just sound purposefully off. “Reggae Pie,” for instance, has vocals that are whispered and rasped without being offputting.
“Diddy Eyes” is Mister Heavenly at its most retro, featuring handclaps and much repetition of the title, like in a classic Motown track, even if it’s never clear what “diddy eyes” are. “Your Girl” is likewise a modern blast from the past and could easily see itself played at school dances across the country.
Combining indie sensibility with a cool dose of induced nostalgia, Mister Heavenly stand unique within the crowd. They don’t look like they’re trying to be retro, but the music speaks for itself. Definitely check this one out, and if you see them on tour, you may just catch a glimpse of Michael Cera on bass.