Hidden Pictures is the kind of band you want to take home to your mother. The group’s songs conjure up the image of a clean-shaven face with a well-coiffed ’do and a winning smile. The band has the sweet-talking charm of Eddie Haskell and the classic looks of Don Draper rolled up into one fantastic album, “Rainbow Records.”
Part of what makes this LP so sweet and accessible is the vocal interplay between Richard Gintowt and Michelle Sanders. The two have collaborated since 2008, when they were in OK Jones, and seem to have hit their stride in the now six-piece pop group Hidden Pictures. Gintowt and Sanders display a melodic and harmonic chemistry in their voices — it’s as though for each song we’re listening in on a polite conversation.
But “Rainbow Records” would be nothing without Erik Voeks’ and Corey Vitt’s bouncing bass lines that mix well with Cameron Hawk’s monstrous drum fills. Nate Holt maintains each song’s electronic presence without being too heavy-handed, which seems to be the key to making this group look as good as it does. Each musician knows how to play dynamically and when to back off and give another instrument a turn for the sake of the song.
The result is 12 well-composed songs that allow each member to come together as an accomplished ensemble.
“Solo Record Shop” is one of many instances of this characteristic. It begins simply with Gintowt and an electric guitar, building slightly with the addition of Sanders’ vocals, a warm bass line and a four-count kick beat. The song then combusts with the burst of each instrument but still allows room for each member to shine.
The band recently aligned with Kansas City’s Golden Sound Records, resulting in greater efforts in sound quality, musicianship and superior lyrical writing. It’s the perfect roll-the-windows-down, feel-good summer record.
“Rainbow Records” shows us a band that has seen some changes but has maintained and grown into a stronger sense of self.