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The BellRays, ‘Hard Sweet and Sticky’ (Anodyne)

Jon Young // May 29, 2008

After more than 15 years in action, Southern California’s BellRays have mastered the essentials of swaggering rock’n’soul. As guitarist Bob Vennum spews slashing power chords and sleazy solos, hard-boiled shouter Lisa Kekaula snarls, “I’m comin’ down to getcha!” like she’s going homicidal, and injects the protest anthem “That’s Not the Way” with thrilling, righteous anger. But Kekaula delivers a bigger jolt when she unleashes her inner torch singer on the melancholy ballad “Wedding Bells,” which makes the noisier songs seem too predictable by half.

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