Album review: "Good & Evil"
There is audible evidence that Tally Hall's second album, "Good & Evil," wasn't recorded in 1966. An electronic keyboard can be heard in "Turn the Lights Off," and that's a drum machine in "Out in the Twilight." But the Michigan quintet's style, with its buoyant four-part harmonies and elegant baroque-pop touches, strongly suggests the mid-'60s period when rock-and-roll was just beginning to investigate the many directions it might take.
Tally Hall is named after a defunct shopping plaza, and that's not the only way the band salutes the past. Its harpsichord or harmony-driven material is unabashedly retro, in both spirit and sound. Even the raucous part of "Fate of the Stars," a seven-minute suite, reaches only as far forward as John Lennon's bluesier late-Beatles tunes. (John and Yoko happen to be one of the pairs the band hails in "&.")
If this choir-boy rock lacks a bleeding edge, it does recapture age-old virtues. With four composers, the group has a wealth of material, which is performed in a tightly meshed ensemble style. Tally Hall doesn't waste a moment on star turns. Instead, the quintet has a communal sound, whose surging "la-la-las" are both simple and all-embracing.
--Mark Jenkins, Aug. 12, 2011