The colors and the shapes

Some acts are content to find a style and stick with it. The Black Hollies are more interested in progress. When the band convened in 2005 to record their debut album Crimson Reflections, it was something of an experiment, mixing '60s soul and pop structures with rave-up rock results. Now, after wide acclaim and a practice regiment that has left their jaw-dropping live shows tighter than a pegged pant leg, they've reached a little further into space, introduced a wonderfully psychedelic element to their sound, and come out on the other side with Casting Shadows, a powerful psych-rock album full of unforgettable nuggets.

Led by songwriter, vocalist and bassist Justin Angelo Morey, this crew of NY/NJ natives and lifelong friends also includes Herb Wiley V and Jon Gonnelli on dueling interstellar guitars, and the freakbeat drumming of Scott Bolasci, whose final electrifying perfomances with the band are captured here. Bolasci has since retired from the band and his sizeable shoes have been filled by the seemingly eight-armed wonder Nick Ferrante. Together, the quartet meld classic-rock touchstones with a disparate amount of influences and ideas -- Wiley is featured on sitar for a number of tracks, and the record also features the mesmerizing drones of a ragini throughout. From the opening ghostly blast of "Whispers Beneath The Willows," careening through the perfectly realized gem "Paisley Pattern Ground" and the mind twisting changes of "Bruised Tangerines," and finally settling into the soothing cool-down of "Patient Sparrow," Casting Shadows is an ALBUM in a time when folks have started to forget about the beauty of a cohesive record.

Garnering massive accolades over their East Coast adventures and unforgettable performances at both SXSW and CMJ as well as hometown freakouts alongside everyone from Ted Leo and Joan Jett, to Mary Weiss and Blue Cheer, to The Fleshtones and The Woggles; The Black Hollies continue to win over any crowd with a mix of straight skill and total sincerity. They'll be on the road throughout 2008 and you can rest assured that if you catch them once, you won't be able to shake it.

[Addendum: Be on the lookout in mid-April for a 45 featuring album track "Paisley Pattern Ground," paired with the exclusive b-side "Hold Tight (Go Out Of Your Mind)." The 45 is the first in Dead Flowers' new jukebox series, released in conjunction with Vibratone Records.]