CD Review: Hot Chelle Rae: Edgy and trendy, with a promising future

November 18, 2009

By Jim Hagerty

Staff Writer

Being the son of a man Eddie Van Halen once called the best guitar player in the world certainly has some perks. For Ian Keaggy, son of Christian artist and guitar virtuoso Phil Keaggy, music has been in his life since he can remember. His father’s coattails, however, are not part of his ride toward the top.

Primarily a guitar player, the younger Keaggy joined the Nashville band Hot Chelle Rae as a bass player in 2006. Today, the band is becoming as hot as its name.

Despite being billed as a pop/rock/dance act, the debut, Lovesick Electric (RCA/Jive), flirts with each genre with the same swagger and unique rock quality that pushed the likes of Switchfoot into the limelight a few years ago.

The record boasts clever hooks and snappy rock licks, which include some catchy Keaggy-driven bass lines. The first single, “I Like to Dance,” is fresh and reveals the band’s ’80s pop influences, emerging with a sound reminiscent of “Dead or Alive,” with just enough electronic fills to complement tight instrumental chops as edgy as anything currently out on CD.

Vocally, R.K. Follese’s modern rock sound works well as the band stops short of pigeonholing itself as just another pop act trying to get picked up as the Jonas Brothers’ tide comes in.

Hot Chelle Rae will make its own waves sooner rather than later as they do, “sound explosive and new and fun…” as put by guitarist Nash Overstreet.

The band is playing dates with Third Eye Blind, including a set at Cleveland’s House of Blues and a 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 19, date at Chubby Rain House of Tunes in Poplar Grove. Lovesick Electric can be sampled at www.myspace.com/hotchellerae.

From the November 18-24, 2009 issue

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