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Kurt Baker Combo
In Orbit

Wicked Cool

Steven Van Zandt was so taken with Kurt Baker Combo that he signed the band to the relaunch of his Wicked Cool record label. Then, when the ensuing album’s first single, “Baby’s Gone Bad,” was released, it was (understandably) dubbed by Little Steven’s Underground Garage’s SiriusXM channel as “The Coolest Song in the World.”

Both of those actions show incredibly good taste. Track after track, In Orbit, dishes out unending and superior bursts of hook-laden rock ‘n’ roll for a fast-paced half-hour that’s no-filler all-thriller.

The Maine native who started the group in Spain plays music that sounds as if it’s the result of a steady diet of garage rock, bubble gum pop, glam, punk and classic rock.

It begins with a two-minute-15 second buzzy joyride heard on “Upside Down.” “Baby’s Gone Bad” follows that with some chunky riffs early KISS would have embraced before it switches gears to creamy harmonies and pop cues that elicit thoughts of Big Star. “Rusty Nail” shimmers with power pop polish. “Modern Day Rock ‘N’ Roll Girl” details true love that’s found by rummaging through someone’s record collection. “Next Tomorrow” pulses with the hooks and harmonies of a Raspberries outtake, while “Ugly Way to Be” has the gritty temperament of the Beatles pumping out another set in Hamburg. Then, a cover of DEVO’s “Jerkin’ Back ‘N’ Forth” transforms what’s distinctively devo-esque into a party dance anthem.

“Do It For You” adds a last dose of power pop to close out this concise succession of one delightful garage pop nugget after another.

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