Hank Close—better known now as Hank!—has already tackled the worlds of prog and folk rock courtesy of his last two bands, so punk-spiked Indie rock seems like a pretty natural evolution.
On his latest 11-track self-release LP, Guilty Pleasures (Are The Best Ones), Hank! deftly rolls out a collection of strongly accessible guitar-focused indie rockers with crooner vocals that bring to mind Josh Caterer of The Smoking Popes and Morrissey (before he became an insufferable right-wing bigot, of course).
“The singles are more or less about relationships,” says Hank. “Even though the lyrics focus on specific situations, they can reference any number of events I’ve experienced throughout my life. That’s part of the beauty of songwriting as far as I’m concerned. You can write a song describing one particular set of circumstances, but oftentimes, they find connections to similar emotions and events that transpire later on. Eventually, over time, the songs find a common thread.”
From the ominously dark “Alchemy” to the moody break-up song “Stupid Teens,” to “Why Go?” a surprisingly beautiful and quirky pop song that could have easily fit onto any Smith’s record, the songs here seamlessly slip in and out of different styles and moods, but surprisingly makes for a cohesive album, one of his best to date.
“It wasn’t necessarily an easy thing for me to tackle the emotions I encountered while making this record,” he says. “I’ve listened to these songs repeatedly, and now I’m ready to put this album out into the world so that I can effectively go forward.”