After Philadelphia Garage rock heroes Mondo Topless finally called it a day in 2011, keyboard man and group leader Sam Steinig wasted no time launching a new project, and The Gtvs show he’s taken his love of cool sounds from the past and headed out in a new direction.
On their debut album, Sh’Bang!, The Gtvs start with the raunchy guitars and booming drums of vintage Garage rock and fuse them with classic Soul and R&B influences, with Steinig making like Booker T. Jones, Alan Price, or Felix Cavaliere on the Hammond or like “Left Me on the Corner” and “Mind the Gap.” While folks who have followed Steinig’s work in the past will recognize his stamp on this music, The GTVs are clearly a band and not just someone’s backing crew; Pat Wescott’s guitar is a powerful counterpoint, adding plentiful fire and grit to the tunes, and bassist Jude Dandelion and drummer Scott Galper are a fine rhythm section who can hold down the backbeat, heat up the dancefloor, or push these songs into high gear as the situation demands. The album has the open, natural sound of a live-in-the-studio session, and Sh’Bang! suggests this is a band that knows how to move a crowd – there’s plenty of sweat and soul in these performances, and if the music often looks to the past, the energy and attitude come from the 21st century and is as up to date as your next party. Folks who dug Mondo Topless will certainly find lots to like in the GTVs, but if you’re down with the retro-Soul scene or just dig R&B-flavored music that will let you wind it up on the dancefloor, you should put Sh’Bang! on your shopping list pronto.
AllMusic Review by Mark Deming