There’s something welcoming about a no-frills rock band. On their new album, Parallel South, local trio Jake Mann + The Upper Hand bring a mix of melodic pop and the best of 90s guitar bands, with singer-songwriter Mann’s layer of grainy, sometimes Dylan-esque vocals landing on top of the pot.
There’s the occasional soulful departure on the organ-heavy “Run Away,” and a hit-and-run pop song in “Days Are Long,” but the rest of the album’s 10 tunes are a balance between straightforward rock and weary, contemplative traveling songs — parts of which were laid down in an abandoned World War II-era theater in Tiburon.
The band played a late-hour yet super energetic, tight set at Bottom of the Hill for the official record release, with guest lap steel player Timothy James Wright and Scrabbel’s Dan Lee on keys assisting Dan Baber and Aaron Bellamy in holding down the fort for Mann. They sound even better live than they do on the record, so mark your calendars: the guys are worth another visit when they take the stage for a free show at Noise Pop Happy Hour on February 25th.
Jake Mann + The Upper Hand, “Below The Line”