Music Review: Hey! Hey!, by The Love Willows

Recently I was able to preview the upcoming CD “Hey!  Hey!” (due for release Summer ’09, through Decca/Universal) by the group The Love Willows, and though I’m not entirely sure how a 35yo married mom of 5 fits into their fan demographics (I think they trend with a younger set), I’m pretty sure I don’t care.  I love this CD!

The Love Willows, based out of Atlanta, Georgia, is real-life couple Hope Partlow on vocals and Ryan Wilson on just about everything else.  Their MySpace Music page is a flood of bright colors – orange, purple, green, and more – that reflect their decidely funky and upbeat style.  Their bio on MySpace highlights several of their qualities, both personally and musically:  offbeat, with “sunshine harmonies,” retro, but with a modern twist, and definitely eclectic.

I think it’s common when listening to music for the first time to try and determine who an artist “sounds” like.  The Love Willows is tough to pin down, though, since one minute they’re sweet (“I Still Love You”), the next sassy (“Strut My Stuff”), with an optimistic anthem (“Keep Your Head Up”) thrown in for good measure.  Comparisons have been made to Gwen Stefani, Kate Perry, Sixpence None the Richer, as well as 60’s pop icons (I swear I hear a little Carpenters in there sometimes!).  It just goes back to the “retro with a modern twist” vibe The Love Willows exudes.

Nearly all of the songs on “Hey!  Hey!” are really upbeat, with a positive message and head-bopping beat – and they do it without being annoying or juvenile.  The first song on the disc – “A Day in My Life” (link leads to Amazon, where you can sample or purchase the song)  – has made it onto my list of what I call “kitchen songs,” meaning, the songs I put on when I want to dance around my kitchen and get all the dishes and mopping done.  (What…am I the only momma who needs some inspiration in that department?)  Another of my favorites is “Falling Faster,” which was the first single released off the album (here’s the video on YouTube – go watch!).

As with most CDs, there are a couple of songs that I either skip or space out to – just being honest in the interest of full disclosure.  I can’t name many CDs I own where that isn’t the case.  Still, I’m enthusiastic about the quality of this music and the fun to be had while listening to it.  The Love Willows get bonus points, too, for being music that my teenagers love, and that I don’t mind listening to in the car with the littler ones.  They’ve been kind of an all around “Win” for enjoying during the many hours we spend in the car.

I encourage you to check out The Love Willows MySpace Music page to find out more, since they’ve got a ton of media and information on there for fans and newcomers.  You can also follow Hope and Ryan on Twitter, too (I’m heading there right now…).