Tom Sinclair
February 20, 2004 AT 05:00 AM EST

Hang On Mike

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
Producers
Sony Music

We gave it an A-

”I gave you Bennie and the Jets/You gave me Kiss Alive II,” sings head Candy Butcher Mike Viola, flaunting his familiarity with (and love for) ’70s rock on Hang On Mike. On the Butchers’ third album, he leans decidedly more toward the Bennie template, using piano, not guitars, to drive his songs home. And what songs! Viola has a winning way with heartbreaking melodies that don’t turn maudlin. Never mind the lack of six-string frenzy: This is power pop (i.e., pop that’ll set your blood thumping) at its finest.

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