Black Music Matters Festival

Bill Mallonee and the Vigilantes of Love

Summershine – 2001 (Compass)

Reviewed by Andy Turner

CDs by Bill Mallonee and the Vigilantes of Love

Vigilantes of Love leader Bill Mallonee, who once compared his song-crafting process to that of a little kid on a rainy day, playing with glitter, sets his sights on Brit pop on this engaging 11th effort by the Athens band.

The press release for promises "music full of more hooks than a meat packing plant" and that declaration indeed proves to be no bull. The band submits marvelous melodies and harmonies along with a little guitar noise and Mallonee's usual insightful lyrics and country-tinged vocals. "Stand Beside Me (You've Got to Go)" sounds likes a cross between the Old '97s, R.E.M., The Byrds and even The Monkees, with a jumping jangly guitar riff and lines like, "You should know my buttercup/It's easier to fall and harder to get up." You hear hints of Squeeze in "Puttin' Out Fires (With Gasoline)" and "It's Not Bothering Me" provides a heartfelt lonesome bedroom confession: "I plug in air guitars/and the chords are just a prayer beyond the stars/ like the spray from hollows seas/inside your heart."

"Summershine" is Mallonee and VoL's joyous celebration of pop music, the kind that seems to been forgotten by radio these days.