Andy Zipf – Jealous Hands
Record Label: Hopeless Records
Release Date: July 5th, 2011
Every once in a while, I come across an album that makes me want to force everybody to listen to it. This July, that album is Andy Zipf’s Jealous Hands. Maybe it’s because I normally find it hard to sit through music of similar ilk (I’m only into some of Copeland’s discography, and was never fully convinced by The New Frontiers, although both bands are appropriate RIYLs), and I’m just beginning to discover the charm mellow indie pop holds within. Maybe avid mellow indie pop fans actually find this pretty average. I don’t know. All I know is that to me, Jealous Hands is a startlingly magnificent piece of art. And while I can’t force anyone to listen to it, you’d be a fool not to at least grab the album for free.
What really makes Jealous Hands, above all the slick sounds, choir vocals and various decorations, is Zipf’s voice. It’s always been what’s driven his music, and that’s true here as much as it’s ever been. In many respects, if it was anyone other than Zipf singing the songs on this album, I’d be tempted to write it off as forgettable. That’s not to say the songs on here are poorly written at all – on the contrary, the majority of them are powerful numbers waiting to happen. But structurally, they can be somewhat generic, and it takes nothing short of Zipf’s heavenly delivery to coax forth their chilling potential.
It’s not just the quality of Zipf’s voice, either. It’s all the small things he does that makes the difference – the way he staccatos his breath at the ends of the lines in “Walkin’ Beside’s” chorus, the triumphant vocal climb in “Find You” (“If you fall, I’ll be there before you…”), the drifting falsettos in “Taking Risk.” I’ve gone on record pointing out that some of the hooks on this album are “unbelievable,” and they are because it’s Zipf animating them. “Reach is Wide” is downright cinematic when he sings “I’m goin’ up to where my heroes died, let their songs save me one more time. I’m gettin’ covered in the cool tonight, the road is narrow but the reach is wide.” There’s a palpable, quivering life to that chorus that’s breathtaking. Again, Zipf’s voice deserves so much of the credit. He’s a master deftly navigating the territory of his own art, adjusting wherever needed and in all the right places.
The most dynamic song is “Run Away, Little Sister,” which starts out reminiscent of Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire,” but eventually blossoms into a full-blown chorus flanked by whoah-oh’s. “My eyes are open, don’t have to see your violent hand to know you’re broken by the touch of a no good man,” it declares. It allows you to realize that Jealous Hands has the ability to not only wow, but also to heal. That ought to be reason enough to give it a chance. And if you’re anything like me, it’ll mesmerize you. I guarantee it.
Awesome review. From the first time I heard this streaming on Paste Magazine, I knew this had a lot of potential. With every listen, I fall more and more in love with Jealous Hands. My reccomendation: just download it and give it one full listen. That one full listen just might give you the desire to listen to it again, and again, and again like it has me. My AOTY as of right now.
Andy can't seem to find his ap.net login, but he asked me to pass this message along till he can get it reset or something:
Thank you all so much for the kind words about Jealous Hands. It is so encouraging to know that people are connecting with it - people far beyond my usual networks - it means that word is spreading, the songs are being heard. I can't express how happy that makes me!