Rookie (Thrill Me)

    Cory Stier is a man with his hand in quite a few different projects. When he's not playing drums in San Diego's Mrs. Magician or New York's Cults, he's booking talent at Soda Bar. And he's launched yet another new musical outlet: Hideout, a duo comprising him and fellow Cults member Gabe Rodriguez. However, since Stier and Rodriguez live on opposite sides of the country, their collaborative partnership is one that primarily happens electronically, not unlike the track-swapping M.O. of The Postal Service. 

    You wouldn't think that the duo was in separate cities, or even separate rooms, by listening to their debut album, Rookie. There's a casual, live-band sound to the folk-tinged rock songs that Hideout cook up. As first track "All I Want" begins to gain momentum, it has a lightly psychedelic, ‘70s feel to its earthy strums and upbeat jangle. But as the song progresses—and the closer one listens—it becomes clear that there's a lot more to it than simply two dudes jamming in a room.

    Rookie is very much a studio creation, but one that never sacrifices the chemistry and dynamic between the two musicians at the center of it. Squint just a little bit and "Where You've Been" sounds like it could have been performed by four or five musicians. It just so happens that there are, in fact, quite a few layers to it—keyboards, guitars and harmonized, multi-tracked vocals. Even a relatively straightforward track like the acoustic "Skylights" has an arrangement that would ordinarily call for a minimum of four musicians. 

    It's pretty clear, the deeper you dive into Rookie, that Hideout have little interest in sounding like a duo. Rather than embrace a less-is-more approach, they essentially ignore whatever logistic limitations are in front of them, including geography, and simply make the biggest and best pop record they could. And as guitar-driven pop records go, Rookie is a damn good one.

    Hideout will perform at Soda Bar on Dec. 27.

    Email jefft@sdcitybeat.com or follow him at @1000TimesJeff


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