by John M. Borack
NUSHU's Hula is an intoxicating amalgamation of girl-group sweetness and power poppin' melodicism, sung and played (for the most part) by two very talented singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalists, Lisa Mychols and Hillary Burton. If Lisa's name sounds familiar, she was formerly the frontwoman for the late, great Masticators, who helped light up the Los Angeles indie-pop scene from 1998-2001. NUSHU's sound is less frantic and a bit more polished than the Masticators', but Hula still brings the guitars out in full force, particularly on tracks such as the charming, '60s-influenced "Leave Me Behind" (which sounds not unlike the Shangri-La's mixing it up with Joan Jett), the speedy, ridiculously catchy gem "Here's to Feeling Free" (which sounds not unlike the G0-Go's playing aural footsie with the Undertones) and the hit single in waiting "Everything & More" (which just sounds great).
All 13 tracks here leave indelible marks, and are impeccably played (listen for Burton's Keith Moon-inspired drum fills on "Synthia") and sung (Burton and Mychols both manage to vocalize sweetly without sounding cloying on their leads and harmonies). And lest you think that the dynamic duo is all about the rock, give a listen to the smoothly atmospheric slow one, "Weary Eyes" (co-written by Mychols and longtime cohort Steve Kobashigawa) and the gorgeous, keyboard-led "Something in Between," which was co-written by Hula's producer, Steve Refling. With the enticing Hula, NUSHU provides the perfect summer soundtrack for power pop boys and girls everywhere. Available through www.nushumusic.com.