Say Hi - The Wishes And The Glitch
Record Label: Euphobia Records
Release Date: February 5, 2008
Fans can become very critical when it comes to their favorite bands and their decisions they make. That is why I was hardly surprised that Say Hi (To Your Mom!) fans everywhere were up in arms over the name change. However, the changes extended a little beyond simply chopping off three words of the bands longtime moniker. Instead of creating another record centered around an oddball theme such as vampires or robots, Eric Elbogen decided to focus his energies on writing about everyday life while still maintaining an air of quirkiness that his fans have come to expect.
“Northwestern Girls” is a relatively succinct song lyrically, only containing six different lines, but Elbogen’s distinct, emotive voice and sincerity add enough depth that it never seems overly repetitive. The track is standard indie-rock fare, but the energy and propulsive guitars make this a perfect lead off track and features vocal cameos by Nouela Jones and David Bazan. Elbogen keeps the energy going with the shuffling indie-pop sound of “Shakes Her Shoulders”, complete with copious amounts of handclaps. The electro-tinged pop of “Back Before We Were Young” finds Elbogen trying to overcome the pangs of reflecting on the past that comes with age and new changes, a perfect pick me up following the slightly dark and haunting “Toil and Trouble”.
“Magic Beans And Truth Machines” is driven along largely by subtle bass lines, shuffling percussion, and understated keyboard accompaniment and is surprisingly layered in comparison to the more bare bones approach taken in most of the other tracks on The Wishes And The Glitch. Elbogen’s vocals mesh exceptionally well with Jones and The Long Winter’s John Roderick and it gives the track a much fuller sound. “Zero To Love”, easily one of my favorite tracks on this album, finds Elbogen singing about the future and the possibility that the human heart and emotions will all become mechanized in the future. While I was not a fan of some keyboard parts and electronic touches utilized elsewhere on the album, Elbogen utilizes both effectively on “Zero To Love” to create one of the most infectious songs on the album.
Even though Elbogen has made an array of changes to Say Hi since his last release, there are still remnants of the older version of his songwriting vehicle. While more of the lyrics are more personable and allow a clearer view into Elbogen’s everyday life, the quirky subject matter of old is still apparent in the Pac-Man themed “Bluetime” or the futuristic musings of “Zero To Love” and the same charming recorded-in-a-bedroom qualities of Elbogen’s lo-fi indie rock are still as present as ever. Some of these songs hit me really hard (“Northwestern Girls”, “Zero To Love”, and “Shakes Her Shoulders”) while others left me underwhelmed (“Toil And Trouble” and “Bluetime”), but at a time where I myself am going through a lot of changes and transitions, this is a very relatable record. This record may not launch Elbogen into the public eye just yet, but it is another solid release in his discography that will cause his fan base to expand while further solidifying his already dedicated fan base.
I was a big fan of the act prior to the name change or this album, but can appreciate this album on the basis of the fact that I don't want another album about Robots or Vampires, but rather whatever the hell Eric feels like giving us. I think it's a great record, that every indie hipster kid should make love to. I spoke with Eric once and he basically said the new direction is very organic - that he feels as if he's aged as a musician and this is where he's at in his life right now. Fine by me, and I can't wait for whatever else he has to offer in the future.