The Memories’ Hot Afternoon could not have been more appropriately named. After three self-produced albums from the Portland-based band, Hot Afternoon, their first studio album, contains exactly the kind of relaxing, jangly stoner rock that you’d expect to hear while relaxing at the beach. While The Memories have some success with this style, there are also some pretty glaring flaws throughout the album.
With co-guitarists and vocalists Erik Gage and Kyle Handley as the only credited members of the band, it’s not surprising that the bass and drums are simple and uninspiring. The guitar is certainly not anything especially creative, but catchy riffs on songs like “It Was A Hot Afternoon” and “Labour Of Love” keep the music interesting. There are a few solos scattered throughout the album as well, though they never push past mediocre.
Unfortunately, any success that The Memories might have with their guitar is overshadowed by their painful vocals. Gage sings lead in a majority of the songs, and his voice is agonizingly squeaky. Handley is a bit better, but he still sounds like a robot trying but not quite succeeding to pass for a human.
The few instances where the vocals improve make for the lone bright spots in the album. Gage drops to a lower pitch in “Dad’s Not Home”, leading to the best song of the album, while Handley successfully talk-sings his way through “We Can Call It Whatever.” However, there are more cases like “I’m So High” where the vocals are just overpowering and unbearable.
The album is also remarkably short (it’s ten songs lasting just over twenty minutes) which would be an issue if it were actually good enough to buy. Instead, remarkably bad vocals stop a relaxing, ocean-side sound dead in its tracks, making Hot Afternoon an album to ignore.
Voice’s Choices: “Labor of Love,” “We Can Call It Whatever”