Eagle Scout – New Hands
Record Label: Cavity Records
Release Date: February 16, 2010
What we often forget about music are the people behind it. It’s easy to hear guitar chords bouncing off drumbeats, but how could any of this be possible without some person fueled by love and Red Bull? Sure, when these masked (wo)men kick each other out and do lines of coke on each other’s MacBook, we are gently reminded of music’s human nature. But there are some bands, rare bands, like Eagle Scout, who put their humanity on display with near-naïve abandon. On “Currents,” the band sings, “Let the water fill my lungs now / Until my body is no more / And let the current carry me down more / Carry me down to the ocean floor,” and this metaphorical struggle beckons us into the real world of a band trying to make it in the real world. It’s band’s like this, who meld profession and passion into one sumptuous ball, that deserve whatever it is us a**holes have to offer.
I refuse to reread the above paragraph because it’s altogether too lovey-dovey for me, but trust that New Hands deserves whatever it is I said. Last year So Many Dynamos awed plenty of us with a cockamamie attempt at pop music; you know, synthesizers, post-punk idols, gang vocals-lite and the jitters that comes with being 20-whatever in Two thousand-whatever. Now it is Eagle Scout's turn. Brandon Hunter’s vocals are that kind of melodic that make you question the definition of the word. How he kind of wails on bass groove-led “Spies Like Us” seems to be in direct disregard for the fervent hum of the synthesizer. But sometimes the best leaders are those we don’t see coming, for he makes his mark gradually on standout “At Arms Length” when he leads the orgasmic group singalong of, “We stand at arm’s length apart / How the hell did we get so far away?” The guitars, often influenced by math rock acts like This Town Needs Guns or that Kinsella guy, somehow keep the momentum flowing as everyone else seems exhausted from emotional exertion. It’s, you know, neat!
While the album is top-heavy – LIKE YOUR MOM – moments of twin-like intuition erupt during the especially technical “Weaker Science” or the post-rockish “The Decay.” The instinctual nature of their songwriting makes it hard to pinpoint the true star of Eagle Scout, because even the solos find themselves being backed by a drum beat or bass slap that, in any other band, could be a solo itself. So pretend I have five hands and they are all cupping Eagle Scout’s balls patting them on the back. “Our Body is Walls” ends New Hands refreshingly because it is not slow, mournful or 17 minutes long. The song’s rapidfire pace and handclap accompaniment does wonders for the album’s replay factor. Rather than finishing on a somber, wholly contemplative note, we are instead pushed to find such moments earlier in the disc. Which, honestly, is what I’m going to do right now. Get off my lawn.
Recommended If You Like: So Many Dynamos, This Town Needs Guns, hub, The Republic of Wolves, bubs
Wow so I'm just about done listening for the first time 'outside of the stream' and I'm really high and all but this album is just blowing me away with how good it is. Just knocked out Crime In Stereo and Titus Andronicus from the top of my 2010-so-far list. This one's gonna be hard to beat for the rest of the year too.