Call the Doctor – Hands Will Shake

The difficulty is with this sort of music – good songs or not - is that there have been so many bands ploughing this particular sonic furrow this past ten years. And it’s often difficult to pick out the ace in the pack. There again the LP is stuffed with good quality teen pop and I shouldn’t be looking to set agendas in reviews.

 

Glasstone Records

When I first heard this LP I have to admit it washed right over me. But memories of the girl’s voice nagged at me over time, pushing me into giving it another spin. I’m glad I did if only to confirm that this is a record informed by a pretty extraordinary vocal performance. The way the vocals get on with making a record out of this music is the real key to this LP’s strength even if a lot of the content is in some ways pretty standard – if by no means shabby alt-pop stuff. It’s the girl’s arch, preening manner, brooking no nonsense with strident tracks like Little Bones and Ten Crept In, that make this LP worth a listen. There are plenty of Baroque squeaks and howls on the mini opera Little Bones, a breathy impatience as seen in Flaws or a siren-like melancholy with Stood Beside Her.

Wrecking Ball and Seventeen are good examples to take to illustrate the musical content of the LP: both songs are packed with glitzy, metallic power chords, both look to exercise the band’s dexterity via a whole heap of sonic twists and turns, and both allow the vocals to run through a set of seemingly well-rehearsed motions. I suppose it doesn’t sound that great reading this, that I can see; but as I’ve said - there’s really something in the singer’s voice that hints at a considerable personality. It could really do with a being matched to a more elaborate, (or maybe messy and experimental) sonic backdrop rather than what the band is adept at - namely concise and well-polished pop songs like Closer To Home. The difficulty is with this sort of music – good songs or not - is that there have been so many bands ploughing this particular sonic furrow this past ten years. And it’s often difficult to pick out the ace in the pack. There again the LP is stuffed with good quality teen pop and I shouldn’t be looking to set agendas in reviews.