Friday, August 22, 2014
Just Handshakes on Bleeding Gold Records
One summer, for work, some friends and I painted peoples vacation houses listening to the same few cassettes we owned to play on an old paint splattered tape player hanging from an extension ladder. The Posies, Dear 23 and The Sundays Reading, Writing and Arithmetic was how I spent the summer doing a terrible job miscalculating how many gallons of paint we'd need or relying on our friend Nate's moped to get from job to job. Ridiculous. Just Handshakes out of Leeds was taking me back to that place with the same ease of melody and vocals. It's not just the jangle indie and thrift store keyboards but the impressive sense of pop they manage to have at the core of both of these tracks from their Bleeding Gold records single released early this year.
"Kiwi" has a great understated start with Clara sounding a lot like Harriet Wheeler of The Sundays which always reminds me that Reading, Writing and Arithmetic hasn't been reissued on vinyl. She's right in front with that sentimentality already developed in this unfamiliar song. No matter, they have that immediate feel of looking through a dusty photo album or better yet these guys remind me of the Spinanes, and their confidence in this slowcore sound. Like Rex they have a complex quiet way with the massive monolith of nostalgia by their side. A jangle thin electric with Modest Mouse style string bending those peaks don't get so overwhelming, just a surprise driving down the coastal highway. Solid drumming, this whole package isn't obvious, the melodies all twist around each other in this expert way. The vocals and even bass takes liberties completely going in their own direction, you could have followed any one of these paths already established but instead they keep breaking further down into tiny capillaries like a tree's spread. Alternating washes of strums with fingerpicking, a sincerely optimistic melody can sink way in without getting under your skin just absorbing straight through.
B-Side's "Sink in" get supremely slow and it's just Clara on vocals with a brushed kick, timidly stomping on that pedal even slower. She can compliment this warm chorus sound perfectly, I don't even dwell on what she's saying, it's really secondary. That tone wanders through these syllables to the point you can't hold on to a single word long enough to remember the beginning. Not only feeding the nostalgia but making sure to do it in a complex way, but that's those twisting melodies again and the ride cymbal fading out on her angelic vocal.
Pick this up from Bleeding Gold records who don't ever disappoint with pressings - this one is clear with a green blob and black splatter. Hot damn.