Hector on Stilts - Fun Size
Record Label: It’s Cool Records
Release Date: October 16, 2007
Centered in Albany, New York, the melodic-pop/softcore punk quartet Hector on Stilts have shown fans what they have been doing since releasing their debut album Same Height Relation in 2005 with a mini-record which they entitled Fun Size. After establishing a place for themselves as a crossbreed where The Kinks meet Camera Obscura, Hector on Stilts won over college fans statewide. At the core of the band are cousins Clayton and Jeb Colwell on guitar and vocals, with Jeb additionally playing keyboards. Rounding out the band are bassist/vocalist Jennifer McCarron and drummer/vocalist John Brodeur. The band’s honeycombed rhythms, subtle chord dynamics, lilting vocal harmonies, and beams of melodic swells have become a trademark for Hector on Stilts sharing these qualities with bands like The Magnetic Fields, Stars, and alternative-pop craftsmen Fastball and Spacehog. Hector on Stilts’ music pops with catchy melodic hooks and tapping beats that blur the line between wistful synth-pop balladry and bubbling movements that hone a soft-punk luster.
Though Fun Size only has four tracks, the tunes are very likable and give fans a taste of where Hector on Stilts want to take their music, particularly in increasing the volume and breadth of their vocal harmonies, which at times are reminiscent of some boy bands like The Backstreet Boys and 98 Degrees. This isn’t meant to knock down HOS’ record. Conversely, the correlation is really meant to show that all band members play an active role in the vocal melodies and that HOS work together as a solid unit. The jangly-pop confection of “Certain Surgeon” is deliriously jovial while the tranquilizing guitar drifts and mellow drum clatters of “He’s in Bed” have a refined acoustic folk bellowing. The bubbling keys and tapping beats of “4th Tunnel” have a soft-punk vibe while the melodic-pop bolts of “1880” display a tuneful ruffling liken to Camera Obscura. The record is candled by melodic-pop filaments which keep the listener’s feet thumping along to the tracks gleefully.
Hector on Stilts’ latest record Fun Size is a healthy dose of fun. They bridge together the world of boy bands with the world of indie-pop. Their vocal harmonies are perfectly aligned and their melodic swells are nicely arranged. Though the band offered much more of themselves on their debut album Same Height Relation, Fun Size offers samples of their gently ruffled synths and plump guitars dotted by lightly bobbing rhythms. No longer a rookie in the domain of melodic-pop, Hector on Stilts are forging a comfortable niche for themselves where having a likable sound does not mean that they have to be generic sounding. Their music shows the band members' own identities, and with all of them handling the vocal parts in their own way, each one is given an equal measure of expression and creativity so no one sounds lost in the shuffle.