I started listening to Needlecraft's newest album with headphones, but just a few seconds into Hunk Out! I knew I'd made a huge mistake: This is not a sitting-down affair, it's a dance party. Better, it's a dance party on a beach with half a dozen short bursts of subversive fun. It's lo-fi-style with high-end production, surf-pop with a landlocked longing. Musicians Mikki Lunda, Hana MT, Adelaide Every and Clark Grant follow Needlecraft's first album with a welcome diversity—instead of being all punch-and-go, there are more pervasive hooks and plenty of poignant moments.
"It's OK" turns '50s doo-wop on its head with the line, "She likes girls and he likes boys, it's OK! They're both gay!" The playfulness continues on the title track and "Boy Patrol," where they sing, "Freeze, come out with your shirts off. Do you wanna go to jail tonight?" Hunk Out! closes with a remix of "Haunted Car Chase," which opened the group's previous eponymous album, and it's downright spookier than the original.
Hunk Out! likewise slows down focuses on what these girls and guy did and still do best: keeping the vibes of a bygone time alive with smiles—or maybe smirks.
Needlecraft plays a record release show, with MASS FM, Boys, J. Sherri and Cool Death, at Stage 112 Fri., June 27, at 9 PM. $5, 18 and over.