Tuesday 31 July 2012

Hello Phones - Get It Together

Album review by KevW

They're quite the chameleons, this New York mob. 'Get It Together' is the debut album by Hello Phones and broadly speaking you'd categorise them as electro-pop, yet they allow themselves the freedom to skip about and take in elements from wherever they choose. Good on them, there's a big, wide musical world out there, and New York in particular encourages diversity and innovation. The impressive opening salvo of 'Drip' and 'Circles' both use guitars to bring a harder edge to some driving pop tunes, the latter of which is particularly well endowed in the chorus department. From there on in 'Get It Together' sounds like the work of more than one band.

The visceral 'Do What I Want' is high-octane noise-pop with enough of a soft side not to irritate sensitive ears, and then it's back to a more straightforward modern disco track with the catchy 'Fantastico' and the meandering 'Feel The Beat' which is variously Morodor-influenced retro electronica, a four-to-the-floor stomper and a Ting Tings-style alt-pop song. Single 'Aquarium' sees them fairly close to conventional band format and is probably what the new Garbage album should have sounded like. The closest we get to a radio-ready pop hit is 'NYID', a song that, oddly, would sound perfectly at home on a Carpenters album.

Adding heavier guitars and a male lead vocal to 'Waverly Blues' and 'Can't Take It Away' steers them into the realms of punk, albeit the sort that no true punk would touch with a barge-pole. 'Rustclef' also takes this harsher sound, and offset with female vocals it sounds more natural. Hello Phones are a band who, one assumes, have diverse musical tastes themselves and they're not afraid to use them. Although there are moments where 'Get It Together' chops from one idea to a totally different one, it feels pretty complete and the variety suits them. Not every track works and they're at their best when they toy with retro electro-pop, but there's enough on display to make us hope they call again sometime.

Hello Phones' website

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