“I enjoy indie in general but this is too hip for me. I’m not cool enough to enjoy this.”
— Lennyd44, Youtube user @ The Hundred in the Hands
Ok, fair enough, Lennyd44. The Hundred in the Hands is undeniably cool. But far from being pretentious, the Brooklyn-based pair will have anyone’s heads-a-noddin’, shoulders-a-twistin’, feet-a-prancin’ with their electro-pop filled debut full-length album.
Bonding after a cross-country van trip in 2008, Eleanore Everdell and Jason Friedman wrote their first song together, the infectiously catchy “Dressed in Dresden.” After the piece gained much attention in the blogosphere world, the girl-boy duo signed on with Warp Records, a British label with a knack for discovering emerging electronic artists.
Even with the success of “Dressed in Dresden,” THITH crafts their eponymous album with caution. Just like the opening track “Young Aren’t Young,” which begins with five seconds of silence leading to a single keyboard line as if to test the waters before plunging into layers of synthesized timbre, the album teeters on the safe-side stylistically. But a short listen of the album will reveal THITH to be great music lovers. From a spoken-word style that hints at retro hip-hop to ’70s discothèque four-on-the-floor rhythms to classic grunge rock, it’s clear that the group draws inspiration from an expansive and almost eclectic music taste.
While Friedman’s guitar riffs are more rooted in rock lines, Everdell’s breathy vocals and airy synth work lightens the overall feel, symphonizing a sophisticated middle ground. On constant variation, their minimalistic beats only hint at monotony unlike many other electropop artists. To break away from a stoic coolness, the group inserts carefree dance-floor anthem numbers like “Pigeons” and “Dead Ending.” The combination of noir indie rock and pleading vocals of “Gold Blood” is enough to give the Yeah Yeah Yeahs a run for the money. Another gem, “This Day is Made” leads off with faraway and bleary-eyed Beach House-esque electronic chill to be interrupted and then modulated by Everdell’s cosmopolitan voice.
Although the album blandly ends with “The Beach,” tremendous strength lies in the bonus tracks (i.e. Don’t buy the normal version. Pay a little extra for the extended album version!!). With “Tom Tom,” the use of repetition is displayed its best. “Sleepwalkers” is anything but a sleep-inducing transition into the fantastic Foals remix of “Pigeons.”
THITH with Delphic open for The Temper Trap at Terminal 5 in New York tonight. Even if you’re reading this early Friday morning, it’s too late to go. Tickets are already sold out. Come and wallow with me.