If you’re in the mood for unassuming, rocking, silly and un-self-conscious rock ‘n’ roll, The Forty Nineteens might have just the thing for you. This California quintet swims in the Smithereens end of the pool, with hard-charging songs that keep the melodic quotient high. The band’s rockabilly character is kept hidden on the winning opener “It’s for Fun (That’s All We’re Living For),” but stick around and you’ll find it in ample supply.
And the band’s garage-rock bonafides are stellar as well, thanks to the participation of The Standells’ Tony Valentino. The song itself is a bit ordinary, and Valentino’s participation is, um, odd, but it’s nonstop fun. And that dissonant guitar break is a welcome surprise.
Some of the songs “We’re Going to Las Vegas,” “Go Little GTO”) veer into overly-derivative territory, but adjust your expectations only slightly and they’re still quite enjoyable.
The production aesthetic is spot-on here: no reverb, no production filigrees. The overall vibe suggests that were you to hear these guys play live, it’d sound just like this, only A. Lot. Louder. My guess is that as enjoyable as The Forty Nineteens are on disc, they’re probably best experienced live on stage.