Quite some distance from their usual surfer rock vibes, Sour Grapes new signing The 99 Degree’s latest offering, ‘Love Like (I Need You)’, is a raw, unapologetic ballad. A cross between the works of Ennio Morricone and The La’s, the tempo twists and turns throughout, starting with Phil’s trademark Gretsch Electromatic, plucking his way through an overgrown garden of reverb, creating an intricate melody, the backbone of the song.
Joe, accompanied by some haunting backing vocals, arrives to dominate focus. You can really feel the emotion in his voice. This isn’t you standard verse, chorus, verse, chorus as the mood completely changes half way through, building a thumping middle section that accelerates into a driving crescendo, before another rhythm shift to the abrupt finale. As a fan of the bass I’d like to hear it pushing through more prominently, but this might be a deliberate move for what is a very unique song.
The fun doesn’t stop there though, as the second song on this double A side, ‘Bed of Bones’, shows the band back to their usual catchy style. Although there are similarities between this and their first E.P. ‘Boot Hill Surf Club’, this is a definite step up. It’s obvious to hear how they have grown and developed as a band, especially with the latest edition of a fifth member.
You can’t help but snake your shoulders and bop your head to this number, and it will only take one or two listens morebefore you’re reciting the chorus back at yourself in a mirror doing a lot of finger pointing (maybe that was just me). A wonderful three minute pop gem with a great intro, clever lyrics that get stuck in your head, all wrapped up in a comprehensive tight little music package that really shows the band talent and quality.
What I love about The 99 Degree is they are not afraid to be themselves and create music they want to create. I would highly recommend seeing them live as they show this same attitude in their performances too.