Kalamazoo’s Jake Simmons and the Little Ghosts will be releasing their new self-titled album with a release show in Lansing on Nov. 17 at Mac’s Bar with Husband&Wife and Narc Out The Reds. The album will be released on vinyl by Lower Peninsula Records.

The band is Jake Simmons (guitar/vocals) along with Matt Blasco (guitar/keys), Ben Bojanich (bass) and Ian Cooper (drums).

Here’s a review of their album.

I love power-pop and this record splits the word right down the middle. Simmons’ guitar playing is simple yet crushing. The power chords on “The Bridge” punch right through you while the single note slices right through you in the chorus. He’s a regular killing machine with the axe (wow, puns). During the verses the guitars are pulled back in the mix but during the choruses they’re out in full force. The acoustic guitar bits add some texture to a great rock song.┬áThat’s what this band does well: good old fashioned rock and roll.

“Chloe” ups the pop factor with high pitched “oohs” from Simmons, showcasing his versatility as a vocalist with a gruff yet soulful voice. His croons get stuck in your head for days. I also love Cooper’s drumming. It’s really fun and simple; gets you moving. “Long Hair” is a fun song as well with its interplay of acoustic and electric guitar parts as well as Simmons’ layered harmonies. The band’s ability to equally complement their pop stylings (Simmons’ crooning and melodies) with the live, electric atmosphere of punk rock (fuzzy, distorted guitars and a great, energetic rhythm section) is astounding.

The production and recording (via John Krohn of Lower Peninsula Records) makes the record have a polish that doesn’t take away from the live, organically powerful atmosphere. The polish in this case reminds me of 1950s doo-wop groups and hit factory record labels like Motown Records. Every instrument has space but not enough to draw your attention toward a particular one. It, again, is a great balance of powerful instrumentation and pop sensibilities.