- Hey Hey Do It Anyway
Maxtone Four got
me hooked from the get go with the opening "bah bah bah's" and hand
claps on "Just Say I Know". Right then I found myself thinking that I
was in for a treat. The sound has a retro '60s-'70s poppy bounce to it
with a modern alternative sound. The playing is tight and vocals are
wonderful. The band also does a masterful job with incorporating the
right amount of harmonies into the songs. "Ashtray", "Kickstand",
"Melody Girl", "Short Pants" - all great. This is one wonderful CD. This
is one you need to get.
-- Mite Mutant (2008)
Review: Maxtone Four - Hey Hey Do It Anyway
Playback Magazine, November 2007)
Hey Hey Do It Anyway, the sophomore
LP from St. Louis power-poppers Maxtone Four, opens with a wink and a nod in the
form of a wry attack on the cliché that is the egotistical rock star. "Just Say
I Know" is a song which at the very least aims to take the archetype down a peg,
if not burn it in effigy. "It's been done before/ And it's been done better,"
admonishes Maxtone singer and principal songwriter Brian McClelland, "There's no
new original rock star/ I don't want to waste your time." The tune is as humble
as it is sardonic, a fun but strictly by-the-numbers melodic pop exercise, which
seems to suggest that McClelland is perfectly aware that one false move could
land him squarely in the sights of his own criticism. Having playfully
dispatched this strawman, Maxtone Four proceed to crank out an economic burst of
unpretentious rock and roll that lasts about 30 minutes, neither overstaying
their welcome nor leaving listeners feeling cheated out of a more substantive
Like many of their
contemporaries, such as British Columbia's similarly under-the-radar Jets
Overhead and the comparatively gargantuan Fountains of Wayne, Maxtone Four
gleefully raid the closets of past masters like Big Star, Matthew Sweet and even
the polished jangle of early Warners-era R.E.M. for ideas and inspiration.
Hey Hey's songs are uniformly energetic and loaded down with handclaps,
harmonies and hooks galore, an occasional punkish riff rearing its head every
now and then. Dressed-down synths and keys sometimes flavor the set, but the
music largely stresses economy over invention. More than anything else, Maxtone
Four want to rock your ass and make you feel good.
repeated listenings reveal a compelling dichotomy at work on Hey Hey, as
the album's occasionally dark lyrics often contrast rather starkly with the
buoyant melodies of its songs. "Kickstand" presents a rumination on loneliness
and dashed hopes, while "I Fucking Hate This Place" is a gloomy rave-up inspired
by McClelland's job as a 911 dispatcher. Not every song is spoiled milk and
wilted flowers, thankfully, with numbers like "Bob"—a tribute to eccentric St.
Louis scenester Beatle Bob—and the charmingly simple "Short Pants" providing
doesn't set out to reinvent the wheel with Hey Hey Do It Anyway, but the
music contained within doesn't ever hint that the band would be remotely
interested in doing so. They are, by their own admission, aware that it's all
been done—and indeed it's been done better—so they are content to explore a
well-trod path in well-executed fashion, which is something that should be
enough to content most any power-pop enthusiast.
B | Paul Little
Review: Maxtone Four - Hey Hey Do It Anyway
Indie-Music.com, October 2007)
It’s been three years since Maxtone Four’s debut album, Go
Steady. Hailed as "dirty, sweet pop," it was a mix of killer
guitar riffs and songs that showed pop rock could be adult in
its approach, it and led the St Louis quartet to be nominated
for Best Pop Band in the print publication Riverfront Times.
Now they’re back with Hey Hey Do It Anyway, and listening
to the aural delights on display, you have to ask why they
didn’t come back sooner than this.
As soon as lead song "Just Say I Know" kicks in (with main
chords sounding eerily similar to The Cars' classic "My Best
Friend’s Girl"), you just know you’re going to enjoy the rest of
the album. In fact, if you mixed The Cars with current indie
darlings The 88, you wouldn’t be too far off what Maxtone Four
has to offer (without being too derivative).
"Ashtray" follows, and again its guitar riff intro drags you
into the song before it’s even begun. Telling the tale of a guy
who’d happily kiss the girl of his dreams, even though she
smokes and tastes like the titular ashtray ("so I swallow
cigarette butts with red lipstick halos"), it’s a knowing nod to
what depths we’ll go to for the sake of love. Or maybe its just
If there’s one thing that Maxtone Four excels at, it’s in the
way their breezy pop hides the darker nuances of their lyrics.
Prostitution, social depravity and college sex tapes to name but
a few, the songs on display here have an edge that so many other
pop rock acts can only dream of.
"I ***** Hate This Place" is a prime example. Decrying the
mundane rat race of everyday life that we can’t escape from, no
matter how hard we try, it’s a cautionary tale of how alcohol
can offer an all-too easy release:
barely 6:05 and the boss says I’ve mucked up
face burning in disgrace
I try to explain he still don’t know he’s sending me
to liquor’s sweet embrace ...
Yet the band also have their humorous streak, as is shown in the
soon-to-be-classic "Short Pants," which you can just see leading
the soundtrack to the next Farrelly Brothers movie, with its
sharp power pop chords and simple "short pants, big girl, do
what you wanna do" lyrics.
With a tight sound, intelligent songs, and darkly ironic lyrics,
Maxtone Four show that pop rock doesn’t need to start and finish
with the likes of Avril Lavigne and Maroon 5. If they could only
get the break that they deserve, then the rest of the music
industry might just recognize this too, and not a moment too
- Hey Hey Do It Anyway
Imnop.com, October 2007)
A short album...but what it
lacks in length it more than makes up for in substance. Hey Hey Do It Anyway is
a super cool, pure feelgood album full of insanely catchy tunes. After making
their initial splash, this
St. Louis band apparently took a bit of a break before getting down to
recording this album (the Spanish phrase on the front cover translates to "Sick?
No, Tired."). Taking a break must've been the right choice at the right
time...as the tracks on this album sound anything but tired. The band crams
eleven songs onto this short album that clocks in at just over 30 minutes. They
deliver their songs with direct intent...never allowing fluff and unnecessary
elements to clutter the mix. Smart guitars combine with excellent vocals and a
propulsive rhythm section...creating a nice whirlwind of pure pop energy. Cool
tracks include "Just Say I Know," "Melody Girl," "Bob," and "OK You Go First."
This album is bound to be a favorite among pop fans all over the world. (Rating:
M4 on Radio BBC2
Check out the play
list for Bob Harris’ Saturday Show on Radio BBC2 to see which lil’ ol’ Maxtone
Four ditty got wedged in between Zeppelin & Todd Rundgren! Strange, sweaty, and
altogether welcome bedfellows: