Wilson and The Catholics – Strawberry Hill
Think summer movie and the mind leaps to the Hollywood Blockbuster variety — Jaws, Star Wars — movies released to the world during those hot months when people have time on their hands and a desire to be in a cool, dark place. And here we recall a simpler pre-pandemic era when we could still gather in large rooms.
But more meaningful are our personal summer movies, the bright-in-the-center but hazy-at-the-edges memories preserved by the films that play on continuous loops somewhere in the back of the brain. That theater is, at best, a seventeen-screen multiplex, one projector for each summer from kindergarten until a few years beyond high school. After that, the frames blur into that poorly-edited box office flop known as Life (30% on Rotten Tomatoes).
‘Strawberry Hill,’ by Wilson and The Catholics, is the soundtrack to one of those movies, perhaps the one playing in Theater 11 where we view that summer when we had a driver’s license and a crush who lived on Strawberry Hill, when we were sometimes sad and sometimes happy and sometimes drove home down Garnett Road at night wearing sunglasses.
You live on Strawberry Hill
Built in 1965
Kiss me on the stairs
and kiss me on the porch
It’s nighttime when I’m going home
I just put my shades on
We always tried to be in love
I wish we could
‘Strawberry Hill’ is timelessly surfy pop, a song that teases out a wistful half-smile even from a listener whose celluloid is cracked and spliced together. The track feels like tornado alley music, tying together garage-bound beaches in Texas, Oklahoma, and Missouri with a dollop of doo-wop, a whiff of Doug Sahm, and some echoing guitars.
I love the space of ‘Strawberry Hill’ — you can park a pickup between the notes. Listen for the tambourine that carries the track, summoning the image of everyone’s dream job: standing at the front of the stage and whanging the zills against your palm while the band boogies behind you.
Based in Joplin, Missouri, Wilson and The Catholics are Wilson Hernandez (guitar, vocals, songwriting), Jerod Thomas (bass), Jacob Boyles (drums, percussion, backing vocals), Justin Akin (backing vocals), and Atlas Monroe (production). ‘Strawberry Hill’ appears on their new eight-song self-titled album, available from Galaxy Train, an indie pop label located in Japan. Wilson Hernandez is also known as the frontman of garage-pop-punk band Tennis Club.