Hondo II's Goodbye, Paraguay! Is a Delightful Indie Pop-Rock Romp

Band: Hondo II

Album: Goodbye, Paraguay! EP

Label: Hot Stack Records

Release Date: Out Now

Longstanding West Seattle "cow-punk boogie" band Memphis Radio Kings is now Hondo II (so named after a type of guitar manufactured by Hondo, a Texas guitar company), a compact two-piece version comprising singer/guitarist Charlie Beck and drummer Tony Leamer. The new name is doubly fitting--not only have MRK stripped down to a duo, Hondo II was generally perceived as the better, second-generation guitar type to come out of the company.

Where MRK was earnestly in pursuit of a defining sound, Hondo II takes a more stripped-down approach with producer Graig Markel (Band of Horses, Nada Surf, Brent Amaker and the Rodeo) at the helm of their new five-song EP Goodbye, Paraguay!. The production is clean and balanced, retaining a bit of what always worked for MRK--up-tempo, effects-ridden, pop-rock anthems--yet forgoing the extraneous noodling and flip-flopping song structures that plagued recent releases like Another Punch From a So-Called Friend. Full of resonant guitar, some light-handed synth, and well-appointed harmonies accented with just a touch of distortion, Goodbye, Paraguay! extols the virtue less is more. MRK is half the band it used to be and all the better for it.

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