Stallone N’ Roses When the Mountains Turn Blue LP

What if it was GUNS N’ ROSES but, like, also Sylvester Stallone? If you’re thinking that doesn’t really sound like a joke, I’m right there with you. But considering this Cincinnati band’s logo—the Appetite for Destruction cover art with various Sly characters irreverently photoshopped over the GUNS N’ ROSES members’ skeleton heads—that appears to be what we’re being asked to laugh along with. Lame sense of humor aside, the more interesting question this band is asking is: what if the SPITS were more power pop? And the answer ends up being: not bad! The lo-fi, dum-dum foundation that these guys lay down is more than sturdy enough to support a good melody, and more often than not, the tunes they end up crafting turn out to be listenable. In their best moments, the band comes off like a dumbed-down version of LIQUOR STORE. At their worst, they sound like a budget MEAN JEANS. The release ended up managing to exceed my expectations, but probably only by setting them so low with this band name.