Hometown: Austin, Texas
Web site: http://www.facebook.com/TheHiTones4624
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The greatest strike against this five-song EP from Austin’s charging old-school rock quintet is that it doesn’t include any performance footage — live, the Hi-Tones are a force to behold, lead singer Johnny Flores a freewheeling blur of snappy dance moves. “The Hi-Tones EP” can’t quite capture that charm, but it comes awfully close, no doubt thanks in part to local producer extraordinaire Chris “Frenchie” Smith, who knows from rock ‘n’ roll.
Opener “Hit and Run” sets the pace, exploding with electric hooks as Flores growls out a sordid tale of automobile-inflicted personal and property damage. “You will never take me alive,” asserts Flores in a line that’s Bon Jovi-worthy in its classic rock efficiency. “I’ll keep running until the day I die.” He backs that up on following tracks, from the straight-ahead rock with a dash of Nuggets jangle of “She’s Got It Bad” to the killer bar-friendly sing-along of “Mistress of Misery.” And bassist Gary Delgado really earns his keep, anchoring the songs with impressive skill. “The Hi-Tones EP” won’t win any awards for novelty, but for energetic, raw rock, it’s hard to ask for much more. Austin Statesman