January 29, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 34°F


Supergroup’s indie sound echoes ’60s youth culture

It’s not very often modern indie-rock music sounds like it should be played from a jukebox, but Mister Heavenly’s debut album seems as likely to be played in a malt shop as it is in a local bar.

Mister Heavenly is a supergroup consisting of singer Nick Thorburn of the indie pop band The Unicorns and the indie-rock band Islands; vocalist Ryan Kattner of the experimental Man Man and Joe Plummer of Modest Mouse and The Shins, on drums.

Their first album, “Out Of Love,” melds indie and doo-wop to create a new genre the band calls  “doom-wop” that’s heavily influenced by garage rock and ’50s and ’60s R&B.

While the two singers have different styles, they work well together. The band shows its garage side with the upbeat track “Bronx Sniper,” which showcases both Thorburn and Kattner’s vocal styles. Thorburn’s soft, pleasing vocals begin the song and contrast Kattner’s rough and attention-grabbing voice that comes in for the chorus.

By the band’s eponymous track “Mister Heavenly,” the listener will understand the genre the band is creating. The song includes drums and handclaps, a sing-along chorus and a light, natural production reminiscent of the ’60s. It’s a sound that calls on old influences — The Beach Boys and Jan and Dean, to name a few.

Though the new group successfully mirrors the past, it has a hard time finding its own voice. The Caribbean-influenced “Reggae Pie” is too long and doesn’t fit the tone of the record, and “Doom Wop,” though named for their genre, isn’t developed enough to get any coherent ideas across.

Despite its kinks, the band is off to a good start and may have just started a new trend.