Hi-Ranger is retro in the best of ways

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      Hi-Ranger (Independent)

      Ever wonder what the world sounded like when bands recorded exclusively on tape, records came out on either vinyl or cassette, and Spotify didn’t exist (mostly because Al Gore hadn’t invented the Internet)?

      For the answer, look no further than this eponymous four-song EP by Hi-Ranger, which could have been dug out of a crate from a time when SST and Dutch East India Trading were the American underground’s hottest record labels.

      How strong is the affection of the trio for a time it presumably never knew firsthand? Well, let’s just say that four out of five Name That Tune contestants will confuse the riff in “Down the Drain” with Nirvana’s “About a Girl”. And goddam if the opening bass line in “Wake Me Up” doesn’t sound suspiciously like someone rearranged the intro to Fugazi’s “Waiting Room”.

      Still, “Warble” shoots its paisley postpunk through with some truly dazzling guitar violence and “Picture in My Mind” leaves you forever regretting you never owned Fluevog shoes and a majestically moussed pompadour in the ’80s.

      Retro in the best of ways, the only thing that would make Hi-Ranger better is someone releasing it either on glorious black vinyl or, even better, hand-lettered cassette.