The Huge, a local rock quintet that's seen several personnel changes over the years, are at their best when they keep things simple, which is why "Infiltrating the Masses" contains a lot more hits than misses.
Like many of the '60s cover tunes the band performs in concert, several new songs on "Masses" boast a sharp melody or an enticing chorus or some cool guitar lines, most of them laced with reverberating tones or filtered through a wah-wah pedal. A saxophone briefly enhances the mix on "Jaded" -- just one example of the band augmenting its core guitar, bass and drums sound with other instruments -- there's nothing complicated about the music save for the relationships and emotions that inspire "Take It Away," "Lust" and other tracks.
The only irritants are those occasional moments when lead singer and songwriter Jeff Langley turns a tad melodramatic, as on the urban lament "Bonehead" ("this city ain't with me/when I asked for change you looked right through me"). Mostly, though, Langley comes up with lyrics that inspire a series of cleverly worded rock tunes and moody vignettes, all of them enhanced by lead guitarist Michael Feldman's evocative touch. With a little airplay around the country, "Infiltrating the Masses" might even live up to its title.
Appearing Friday at the Hard Rock Cafe. To hear a free Sound Bite from the Huge, call Post-Haste at 202/334-9000 and press 8126. (Prince William residents, call 690-4110.)