[GARAGE POP] Hey Lover never sounded incomplete as a duo. In fact, Hey Lover sounded like it could never be anything else. Guitarist Justin Varga and drummer Terah Beth Baltzer Varga, whose marriage and band are both about 10 years old, exploited the intimacy of their arrangement with spastic and elastic pop-punk songs that sounded like an extension of pair-bonded bliss: raw, tight, riotous and mega-fun. On Sinking Ships, the Portland band's third album, the Vargas are joined by bass player Tim Janchar, and the result is another happy union. Janchar's extra weight adds some cautious drift to Hey Lover's sharp turns, and while there's not quite as much thrilling danger in the mix, Sinking Ships is the band's most convincing demonstration of pop prowess yet. The summery garage pop on the album would make fine bedfellows with the beach-bound party dogs of the contemporary Burger Records scene, but it also wouldn't sound out of place in the mid-'90s Olympia scene that spawned Kicking Giant's beautiful racket and Bangs' anthemic rock 'n' roll. But forget about the limits of time and space: Where songwriting chops meet a staunch commitment to good vibes, there you will find Hey Lover.
SEE IT: Hey Lover plays Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water Ave., with the Lavender Flu and Mope Grooves, on Saturday, May 7. 9:30 pm. $8. 21+.