50 Unheralded Albums from 2011

Mister Heavenly: Out of LoveMister HeavenlyOut of Love (Sub Pop)

Mister Heavenly: “Bronx Sniper”

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Formed in 2010 with far less pageantry than the would-be “big three” of the Miami Heat, the Mister Heavenly super-group is its own high-powered triumvirate, comprised of Nick Thorburn (Islands, The Unicorns), Ryan Kattner (Man Man), and Joe Plummer (Modest Mouse, The Shins).

The first 25 seconds of the trio’s debut album, Out of Love, feints left with a strummed guitar and brittle vocals — territory where Thorburn has made his name — and then cracks wide open with pure rock-‘n’-roll swagger. With the two songwriters, Thorburn and Kattner, carrying on an exchange of verses and riffs, one expects a certain amount of fragmentation. Instead, the dual vocalists complement each other in surprising ways — a result likely due to the rather unlikely influence of doo-wop.

An ear for nostalgia and a strict set of ground rules keeps Out of Love from developing a split personality. Of course, it’s not doo-wop; it’s “doom-wop,” according to the band. Thorburn can sing a mean hook, and sticky melodies seem to come effortlessly, but it’s Kattner (known for his guttural vocals and manic, face-painted antics) and Plummer who bring the edge and keep things unpredictable.

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