Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hemmingbirds - Death Wave

Death Wave is comprised of fully realized indie pop songs that have subtle influences of jazz influenced rock (math,progressive) that seamlessly meet with indie pop sounds akin to Decemberists and Arcade Fire. This album has really good production and never loses it's focus, quite an achievement over the span of 10 songs. Chicago based Hemmingbirds should be proud of this album that places them firmly on the list of great Chicago indie bands. The band originally began as a solo project by Yoo Soo in the fall of 2009. Over the period of seven months, Yoo Soo performed, recorded, produced, mixed, and self-released “Death Wave” with the aid of Zach Benkowski on drums. He has since then recruited Tim Cap, Laurence Almalvez, and Brian Choi to create the 5-piece band it currently presents itself to be.

<a href="">Death Wave by Hemmingbirds</a>

"Mellow Gold " haze has an instantly recognizable melody and a killer hook that is reminiscent of the best Weezer hooks. Tight production and from the toms at the beginning to a build to the cymbals at the end the percussion works really well.

Love the break in "Old Fire". The strings are nice on this track as they compliment the Yoo Soo's vocals as they soar high in higher. The time switches on this song keep it interesting.

'The rhythms and the standards of modern living, they weld our feet, to a growth of scenery', Yoo Soo explains in "In the Event of Failure" which starts off with just an acoustic guitar and voice. This is nice and helps to underscore the tale how we live. 'To future selves that sulk in failure the pain is a temporary tie'. Another nice momentum build toward the end of the song.

The prog. rock punch on "Perpetuator" switches up the sound a bit that it outfitted with a marching snare drum beat. After listening to the first 5 songs the loudness of this track comes as a pleasant surprise.

Yet another surprise on first listen was the psyched out Floyd like "Slippery Slope" with even bigger guitar. This really feels like a true updating of that song, which you don't hear often. Reminiscent of Omar Rodriguez Lopes (Mars Volta).

On the last track, "Death Wave/Color Swirls" there is some beautiful guitar work in this waltz timed ballad.

It's pretty obvious that Yoo Soo can pick up any style of rock/pop he wishes and put his own unique stamp on it. That's a good thing for us music fans. Though people get so caught up with trying to root out influences. if the music is really good then the influences will hit you afterward. This is the case for me with this splendid album. It's amazing to think Yoo Soo recorded it all himself, save for some drums. If this sounds really good to you then you can see him in person THIS FRI AT BEAT KITCHEN!!!! He is playing with Mutts, who I have reviewed this week as well. Archie Powell and The Exports as Well as Glittermouse on this bill. I will be there.


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