A live album by a band thatâ€™s been missing from radio for a good two decades is usually a bad sign. A gimmicky half acoustic, half plugged in record is even more ominous. But Philadelphiaâ€™s once-favorite sons have managed to pull of the difficult, putting out a nostalgia record that is just as good, if not better than anything they have done before.
The first disc was recorded live in 2007 at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia, the second was a surprise acoustic show recorded four months later in front of a much smaller studio audience. Both sides capture a band with renewed energy and show how remarkably well songs like â€œSatelliteâ€ and â€œKarla with a Kâ€ have stood up over the past couple of decades. Itâ€™s also easy to forget just how many great songs the band had. The Hooters (unfortunately named in retrospect) ran from the late 80â€™s to mid 90â€™s, reuniting in 2001. They even released a solid, though mostly unnoticed album in 2007 (â€œTime Stand Stillâ€). But this double album should be proof enough that the band deserves our attention once more. With some varied arrangements and a slightly matured sound, â€œBoth Sidesâ€ is a rare occurrence: a snapshot of a band that is just now hitting its stride, nearly 25 years after getting started.
Top tracks: â€œDay By Dayâ€ (acoustic), â€œWhere the Wind May Blowâ€ and â€œKarla with a Kâ€ (both versions)
Rating: 8.7 out of 10
The Hooters â€“ Both Sides/CDs/2009/26 tracks/Self-Released/www.hootersmusic.com