I've been keeping this record under my hat for a while now, but it is finally time to let the rest of you know about this interesting group from Sioux Falls, SD. They are We All Have Hooks For Hands, and are another super-sized indie rock band. When I say super-sized, I am referring to the sheer number of members, which WAHHFH has a total of nine. While they don't have the oomph of some of the other larger groups, such as Arcade Fire, what they lack in terms of sound they totally make up for with their quirkiness and pop sensibilities.
The Pretender begins with the playful sound of a xylophone and the steady pulse of a synth. This gives way to a sunny pop song sprinkled with layers of sing-along vocals and what sounds like a tuba. The more I thought about this track, the more I was reminded of the band's musical similarities to Neutral Milk Hotel. It is more of the feeling I get from the songs rather than the sound itself, but its totally there. This leads us to "Oh I'd Expect," a track that lets a horn section take the spotlight for the first moments, before giving way to fun choral vocal section. Once we get to the meat of the song, they almost sound like a stripped down version of The Shins, but with twice as many band members.
"Hold On, C'mon" lets WAHHFH show a little diversity in their sound, opening with an out of tune accordion (I think that's what I hear). After some choral vocals, we are treated to a bit of trumpet, albeit sloppy playing, but that is part of the charm of this album. Instruments sound a bit off, the beat can be unsteady at times, the sound is thin, but the sheer energy and uniqueness makes this quite a treat.
I can remember the early days of the Polyphonic Spree, when the choir was more of the vocal focus rather than that of Tim Delaughter. This is what I get from WAHHFH, with the fellas all singing in unison during "The Man Trying To Outfox Us." Rather than shoot for musical and vocal pitch perfection, this band would rather spend their time making tunes that are unexpected, fun and mighty good. Fans of early Modest Mouse, Shins and Arcade Fire will definitely enjoy The Pretender. Once the word spreads, they could very well be on their way to leaving obscurity in their dust.