When a band deals mainly in straight-ahead, no-frills rock, it helps to have a secret weapon, and The BellRays have one in frontwoman Lisa Kekaula. The singer's equal adeptness at balls-out, arena-sized shouting and soulful crooning earns the group its "rock 'n' soul" descriptor, and lends interest to its otherwise by-the-numbers garage rock. Not that there's anything wrong with good, solid riffs, something else the group's eighth album, Hard, Sweet And Sticky, has in spades. After 18 years together, The BellRays are in clear command of the sounds they crib from, alternating between trashy, thrashing punk-laced tunes like "Infection" and "Psychotic Hate Man" and sultry slow-burners like "The Fire Next Time" and "Wedding Bells." It sounds a bit too spit-shined at times, and the chugging riffs, while propulsive, can be a little same-y—but that doesn't make the album any less exhilarating, especially when Kekaula shows what she can do. Hard, Sweet And Sticky reaches across a narrow spectrum of rock music, but it manages to hit all the sweet spots along the way.

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