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Story by Thomas Calkins III
As funny as it sounds, Ha Ha Tonka are something like a cross between Spoon and the Oakridge Boys. Though that might not sit well with some (seeing as I last heard the O.B.'s were on the aptly named "Red, White and Blu-Blocker Tour"), meant with only the best sense of those words. To put it bluntly, I've never seen a rock band pull off a southern style four-part harmony section that was so dead on you couldn't possibly negate it. Sitting behind all of that is a very sharp and finely tuned staple of rock songs, many with blunt endings and time signature changes, but never to an annoying end.
In a way I could see some lumping them in with an insurgent country set, but the boys in Ha Ha Tonka are far from being a band with a cartoonish preoccupation with "old timey" nostalgia. Their tour van was not the General Lee (although that would be bad-ass), if you catch the metaphor. In many ways, the band played music that illustrated that they were the proud inheritors of a rich southern musical tradition long envied by many a northerner, but they also have a Pixies record or two in their collections.
So although the name might not actually give it away, Ha Ha Tonka IS a band worth getting into, especially if you've got at least a little spot in your heart for both deep seeded tradition and playful (re)invention.
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