Officially being released on January 18th is HANDS AND KNEES third full-length album “Wholesome”. Hailing from Boston, these guys come from right in the middle of all the musical goodness that’s been pouring out of the area. It’s like the epicenter of garage rock up there right now…
While these guys do still stick to the garage rock thing like some of their fellow bands from Boston (like DOOMSTAR! or Young Adults), Hands and Knees take it a big step further and work in all sorts of sounds and genre’s that you might not expect at first. Their new record covers various forms of music, ranging from classic alt-country, punk, a little bit of the twangin’ blues rock, some nods to folk, and it’s all done with an off-center pop sensibility that will definitely catch you off guard around every corner.
The record kicks off with the first track “Throw Me from the Bridge of Flowers”, and it welcomes you with quite a bang. Right from the beginning you’re already faced with triumphant vibes, almost with a type of “overcoming adversity” attitude that marches along without stopping for anything in it’s path. The ramshackle drumming pounds constantly over a country-esque guitar hook, and it’s a great way to get things started. Track two “Close Your Eyes” takes on a slightly different sound, but it’s still as ambitious as anything else found on the record. The twangy lead guitars make way for a closing solo that’s definitely got a hint of the blues within. The following track “The Moonlight is Wicked” again follows a similar path, sounding warm and comforting as the guitars twang away.
“Sitting at the Piano Disappearing” is when a little bit of the punk inflections come into the mix. The punk vibes aren’t like bashing down your door though – they’re a bit more subtle than that. Pulsing bass lines, crashing drums, and sharp, angular guitar licks hold this song together, but there’s still a bit of that twang mixed in. There’s a noisy guitar breakdown a bit before the halfway mark, which eventually concludes with a rowdy exit complete with more crashing drums and ecstatic howls of joy. “I Won’t Miss You” barely gets its feet wet in the punk pool as well, coming through with a swaying rhythm and a woozy sounding lead guitar.
At the halfway mark, “99” starts with a crashing intro, and for the most part this song comes from a bluesy left field. There’s a sly and sneaky tone included, as it kind of creeps along slowly with tons more twang and moody blues. Following this comes “Dancing on Your Tears”, which has a more swingin’ dance approach, but it’s definitely a track on it’s own. Forget everything else that’s happened thus far, because these guys don’t stick to one specific sound. Their very dynamic in that regard, and you probably won’t realize it until you’ve gotten this far into the record to hear how things change up.
“Cadillac” is another one on it’s own, being a smokey slow-burner that’s definitely suffering from a bit of the bluesy guitar dirge. “The Ballad of Cottonball Johnny” brings punk back to the table (probably in its most obvious form here), with a rowdy attitude and highly caffeinated drumming that will surely put you on yr ass. It’s a near-perfect minute-long outburst of pure country-punk action.
For the most part, these guys stay far away from being refrained to one type of music, and it stands out like a sore thumb. Whether it’s the joyous bar-room piano of “Fieldtrip!” or the stealthy blues rock of “99”, this new Hands and Knees record has all the necessary ingredients to catch on. Don’t forget to check out their Bandcamp to hear the rest of the songs from the record…and if yr from the Boston area, you should definitely make an effort to go see Hands and Knees on their record release night, taking place on January 27th at Great Scott in Allston, MA. They’re joined by surfer punks DOOMSTAR!, the Needy Visions, and the Fedavees for the night. Follow that link for the Facebook invite.
Throw Me from the Bridge of Flowers –
Sitting at the Piano Disappearing –
Dancing on Your Tears –
The Ballad of Cottonball Johnny –
My Rating: 7/10
Genre/ Tags: Alt-Country, Blues Rock, Punk
1.) Throw Me from the Bridge of Flowers
2.) Close Your Eyes
3.) The Moonlight is Wicked
4.) Sitting at the Piano Disappearing
5.) I Won’t Miss You
7.) Dancing on Your Tears
9.) The Ballad of Cottonball Johnny
10.) Feathered Fly
12.) Do You Look at Everybody that Way?
BUY the record directly from the H&K Bandcamp – two vinyl options, both very limited (400 total) !!!
Hands and Knees on Myspace (isn’t Myspace just awful these days???)
More info. about the band from Sippy Cup Everything