Looker is a band worth looking into

New York City’s harmonious punk band Looker will release Born in the Desert on Serious Business Records on Oct. 28, before embarking on a European tour. The album is Looker’s follow-up to the well-received Born Too Late from 2007.

Childhood friends Boshra AlSaadi and Nicole Greco interlock their buzzing riffs and lilting harmonies with effortlessness, while bassist AJ Lambert and drummer Robbie Overbey hold down the driving rhythms with ease. With their unabashedly poppy, rough-and-tumble gems, they could have made a great split LP with the Phil Spector-era Ramones.

Born in the Desert‘s production comes courtesy of Erik Paparazzi (Cat Power) and trades in the stripped-down production of the previous album for lush and jagged soundscapes. They play infectious short stories wrapped in rock candy. For a taste of the sound, imagine the Buzzcocks sitting in with the Shangri-Las. Then sprinkle a generous handful of Joan Jett grit on top, and you’re starting to get there.

The new CD’s subject matter is tough, bittersweet and celebratory. Each song is a distinctly strange slice of desire and anxiety, sweetened by punk guitar heroics and an airtight rhythm section that catapults the narrative forward with the brave glee of the first sledder down a freshly snow-covered slope. The Smiths-referencing “After My Divorce” chronicles the glamorous life of a divorcee who moves to New York, sips Campari and assures us to a demanding drum beat that she’d “do it again” if given the chance. The title track, with its proclamation that “I’m the hero of my own life,” sounds absolutely huge. The uncommonly evocative “Animal Dreams” manages to be both foreboding and exhilarating.

To continue the seasonal analogies, Looker is a tall, cool lemonade on a humid post-summer day — more emotional than emo, more inspired by ’77 than ’07 — and these are all very, very good things.

Are you familiar with Looker? Do they sound like something you’d dig?